Maharashtra and Goa Compete For Special Tourism Zone

In the running for being chosen as a special tourism zone in western India, senior tourism ministry officials hinted that either Maharashtra or Goa would be picked. The process has been undertaken after the announcement made during the Union Budget, by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, on Wednesday that five special tourism zones will be set up in India in the next financial year.

Officials revealed that only one state from the west would be chosen for the zone.

State tourism department officials have also planned to pitch Maharashtra to the ministry.

A national daily reported senior ministry officials saying that the chances of Maharashtra being selected as a special tourism zone for the west are bright.

“Though the creation of the five special tourism zones is still in its nascent stages, the chosen state should have regional representation and be the strongest possible contender in tourism in the region. A major tourism destination in the western part of the country will be chosen, depending on its popularity among tourists, availability of land and other factors,” the official said. – TOI

Western Part of India (Possible Special Tourism Zones)

  • Maharashtra
  • Goa
  • Rajasthan
  • Gujarat

An English national daily also reported officials of the tourism department of Maharashtra saying that recommendations in the past were made to the ministry asking them to treat Maharashtra at par with Goa and should adopt similar policies on shacks on beaches and coastal regulation norms.

State director of tourism Satish Soni said, “Maharashtra is one of the few regions in the world which offers multiple types of tourist destinations. It has a long coastline of 720km along the lush green Konkan region. The Western Ghats and the Sahyadri mountain range offer hill stations and water reservoirs with semi-evergreen and deciduous forests. The Vidarbha region with its dense forests is home to several wildlife sanctuaries and nature parks.”

Listing the attractions that Maharashtra has to offer, the state director of tourism said the state has five tiger reserves, Bollywood as well as five world heritage sites like Ajanta-Ellora caves, elephant caves, Kas Plateau and the iconic Lonar crater made of basaltic rock. “For this reason, the state tourism department will pitch Maharashtra as the apt contender to the ministry,” Soni said.

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