A long weekend from August 12 to 15 has seen almost all Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) resorts booked to capacity. What’s more, tourists are no longer making a beeline for popular destinations like Malshej Ghat, Lonavala or Mahabaleshwar, but also checking out wildlife sanctuaries or climbing forts.
While abundant rains have had some tourists seeking popular resorts at Malshej, Bhandardhara and Matheran, others have sought registrations at Tadoba and other wildlife sanctuaries. Vaishali Chavan, regional manager, MTDC, Pune region, said bookings are full for all the 20 destinations, including Panshet, Karla, Tarkarli and Ganpatipule.
Anticipating a huge rush, the MTDC has tied up with Airbnb, a community-driven hospitality company, to promote affordable accommodation and genuine local experiences for tourists, Ashutosh Rathod, joint managing director of MTDC, told The Indian Express.
“We have 787 operational rooms at 21 resorts and bookings are full. Because of Airbnb, the number of rooms has increased to nearly 3,000 and here too the bookings are full,” Rathod said.
Airbnb will assist home stays across Maharashtra by bringing them onto its global platform, Rathod said, adding they will also help provide information to its users on less-explored but high-potential destinations in Maharashtra. The main aim is to create a wide network of affordable stays at lesser known places of tourist interest, said MTDC officials.
“We are seeing a different set of travellers who prefer not to go to the usual destinations. For instance, if Satara boasts of a world heritage site of the colourful flower plateau at Kaas Pathar, tourists also want to visit the Ashoka fountain at Satara or climb forts at Aurangabad,” Rathod said. People are experimenting and this wanderlust has them exploring new spots. Hence, the tie-up with Airbnb will also help us ensure there are amenities available every 30 km, he said.
According to Chavan, several MTDC resorts have been booked even for the October-December holiday season. “People are planning well in advance and we have seen a huge rise in online bookings. For instance, a majority of our MTDC resorts have been booked from December 23 till January 2,” Chavan said.