The Maharashtra government Cabinet has passed a new policy that aims to promote tourism in the state. The ‘Caravan Tourism’ policy aims to provide safe travel and incentivise tour operators, while boosting employment opportunities for the tours and travel sector, which has been highly-impacted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Maharashtra’s Caravan Tourism policy meant to boost tours and travel sector
- Policy covers caravans and caravan parks
- Initiative to make remote tourist attractions more accessible
The two-part policy – caravan and caravan parks – will allow tourists to enjoy Maharashtra’s natural beauty and other attractions, and is also said to creating local employment opportunities in the tourism sector. The law identifies a caravan as a specially-built vehicle used for the purpose of travel, leisure and accommodation, while a caravan park is a place where such vehicles can stay overnight and provide amenities and facilities for tourists.
As part of the policy, the government will offer benefits such as a waiver of stamp and electricity duties, and a GST refund for tour operators. The caravans and caravan parks will have to be registered with the tourism directorate, which will train their promoters in marketing, management and hygiene aspects.
The government statement said family picnics can be arranged in places other than hotels and resorts, and no development zones can be utilised better. Furthermore, remote areas with tourist attractions will become more easily accessible.
The caravan parks can be set up in places that are well -equipped with basic amenities like water, road and electricity. Caravans can be parked in these places, which could be private or government-owned land. As part of ensuring maintenance and cleanliness, owners of caravan parks will have to ensure safety and security of travellers and provide them necessary facilities, including the differently-abled. Caravan parks can also come up on the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) guest house areas and open land belonging to the state-run body. The caravans will have beds, kitchens, toilets, sofas and tables and these vehicles in different sizes will be registered with the transport commissioner apart from the tourism directorate.
A registration fee of Rs 5,000 is required and licences for operators can be renewed on payment of Rs 2,000.