Western circuit tourism on anvil

| 27 July 2001 22:15 IST

After reaching a saturation point with beach tourism, Goa is now developing a new concept of 'western circuit' on tourism, involving four other neighbouring states in the region.

It is a package of 25 days, proposed by Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar, while seeking co-operation of all the states, which includes Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and newly formed Chattisgarh.

Taking opportunity of the tenth regional convention of hotel and restaurant association of western region held here last week, Parrikar has placed the concept before them. The idea is to provide Goa as the gateway for the package tourists, who will return back to their destination via tiny coastal state after touring all the five states.

Chattisgarh chief minister Ajit Jogi, Maharashtra deputy CM Chagan Bhujbal, Gujarat tourism minister Suresh Mehta and MP tourism minister Ajay Singh - all four - have unanimously welcomed the concept.

"Goa is too small a place to stay for more than seven days", states Parrikar, while offering to initiate and develop the concept. It will be then sold by the tour operators in India and abroad.

In order to attract different kind of tourists, Goa is now also focussing on eco-tourism and adventure tourism, exposing its green hilly region to the world. "It will be much different from the Kerala model", states Parrikar.

Bhujbal however plans to hold a food festival in Mumbai on the lines of Singapore and Dubai, while setting up water sports facilities at hill stations like Matheran. He has also announced Deccan Odyssey Luxury railway, on the lines of Palace on Wheels, for Goa and Maharashtra.

The seven-day package in this train will begin from Mumbai, covering several religious and historical places along Pune, Aurangabad, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg, before entering Goan beaches.

Jogi, on the other hand, has announced his plans to lay emphasis on eco-tourism, while offering several incentives to the tourism, including granting industry status to it.

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