February 18, 2021 3:20:18 am
In a bid to boost the Covid-hit tourism industry, the Maharashtra cabinet on Wednesday approved a policy to encourage caravans and caravan parks in the state. The state government is planning to promote “caravan tourism” at beaches, forts, mountain ranges, hill stations, forests and heritage sites.
Under the policy, recreational vehicles, camper vans or motor homes will be allowed at places where permanent construction is prohibited or where hotels and resorts are scarce. Caravan parks at such places will be created with facilities such as water, road and power connections, tourist facility centre and a park among others. The park will come up on at least 2.5 acres of land with a maximum of 20 parking bays, an official said.
Under the policy, the government will allow private players to set up the caravan park on private or government land in buffer zones such as forest, foot of the fort, hill station and dams. Caravan parks can be set up in the vicinity of Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) accommodation or on their open land as well as at agri-tourism centres.
“The policy will not just promote caravan tourism but will also encourage private investment in the state. Also, it will encourage family tours, facilitate tourists and will generate employment opportunities in the state,” an official said.
The policy will also provide incentives such as exemption in stamp duty, a refund of the state’s share of Goods and Services Tax, rebate in electricity duty with others to the caravans and caravan park professionals under the state tourism policy.
“The caravan and caravan park professionals will be trained in marketing, hygiene and its management through the directorate of tourism,” the official added. The policy also mandates that while caravan parks and caravans will also need to be registered with the directorate of tourism, the caravans should be registered with the transport commissioner. A state-level committee has also been set up under the principal secretary of the tourism department to oversee implementation and monitoring, an official said.
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