Nagpur, May 22: In a major boost to tourism in Maharashtra, the state is looking forward for the development of 107 ecotourism destinations. The Maharashtra Ecotourism Development Board (MEDB) has decided to develop these ecotourism destinations at the cost of Rs 772 crores within coming four to five years.
Managing director of MEDB, Mahip Gupta said "The decision has been approved by the ecotourism board, and on an average annual expenditure for each destination development is about Rs 60 to 70 crores. Plans of these 107 destinations are ready".
Gupta further added that the funds for the development of these destinations will be knocked from various sources which include District planning development committee (DPDC), Vidarbha Statutory Development Board (VSDB), Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) and other state schemes.
The United Nation had declared 22nd May as International Day for Biological Diversity. This year the theme for International Day for Biological Diversity is ‘Biodiversity and Sustainable Tourism’ which is an opportunity to raise awareness of the important contribution of sustainable tourism both to economic growth and to the conservation of biodiversity.
According to Gupta, Few places of Maharashtra to be developed as international level ecotourism destinations where the development of Maharashtra’s Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) as an international level tourism destination has already been started and is in progress. He said, "Tendering process for appointment of a consultant of international repute is already in progress and single tender of Sollimar International is under consideration of the government”.
Maharashtra ecotourism policy was already declared on August 20, 2008, which addresses about core concepts like participation of the local community, nature education, regulated tourism and uncompromised conservation. The policy also speaks about the creation of a separate ecotourism board for looking after the ecotourism works entirely.
India generates approximately 6% of the gross domestic product (GDP) from tourism. In India every year around 5 million foreigner tourist visits country where Nagpur has huge potential to attract foreign tourists has it first steps to tiger capital of India. Gupta said "Even if 10% of these visits Nagpur and one tourist spend around $1,000 the total income generated in the region will be around $500 million. Vidarbha has a tremendous untapped potential for tourism”.
MEDB was formed on 8th December 2015 and its by-laws were approved on 28th January 2016. The board act as the central agency for the works related to ecotourism for the state.