Maharashtra sets up task force to revive tourism

Maharashtra has set up a task force for revival and growth of the tourism sector in the medium to long term, state tourism and environment minister Aditya Thackeray has said.

The state government wants to develop Maharashtra as a tourism positive state, the minister said. “We have to take Maharashtra ahead, pitch it to the world. I am really keen that Maharashtra will be the first to declare and deliver something for the hotel industry,” the minister said while addressing various concerns of the hospitality industry.

A collaborative approach from all the stakeholders is required for revival and growth of the hospitality industry, which has been severely affected by the coronavirus pandemic. He emphasised on preparing guidelines for sustenance and revival, and for growth of the sector in the state, post the coronavirus crisis.

Issues like increased excise licence fees that are payable upfront at this critical time, abolishing electricity duty that is charged at 21%, property tax waiver for 6-9 months, the need for liquidity and working capital among others were some of the issues that the industry urged the minister to resolve.

He said various efforts will be required for a quick revival of the sector and for which, there is a need to figure out ways to collaborate with other sectors.

“For this, we need to prepare two documents- one for the industry’s sustenance plus revival, and another for driving its growth after that. This is something we have to do together, make a massive effort to get the industry back on track,” Thackeray said.

“We will make an effort to get people across the world to come to us and stay in our hotels. We need travellers who will spend at least 36 hours in the cities they visit. We have to revive very quickly, take the sector ahead and figure out how we can work with the other sectors,” Thackeray said.

Safe travel will be important, for which there will be a need to be transparent with numbers of COVID-19 cases, the way it has been so far, he said.

“The way 9/11 changed travel, COVID-19 will do the same. We will have to adjust, spaces are limited in Mumbai and Maharashtra, so we have to be together as a group and move ahead as a team,” he added.