In a bid to attract more foreign tourists, the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) has launched luxury bus tour packages to the Konkan region of state from Mumbai and Pune. The state tourism board also plans to launch a sightseeing bus service in Mumbai. This announcement was made Chhagan Bhujbal, Minister for Tourism, Government of Maharashtra at the unveiling of the luxury buses in Mumbai yesterday. MTDC invited members of the travel trade and media to be a part of the inaugural tour from Mumbai.
Bhujbal unveiled the five state-of-the-art Volvo buses purchased by MTDC at the function. The Minister said, “Maharashtra has varied tourism destinations. The Konkan region attract visitors from across the globe and these 43-seater buses, which are equipped with a pantry, chemical toilets, GPS tracking systems, LCD TVs and wifi will boost tourism to the region. The 1300 km route includes stays at luxury resorts operated by MTDC. The proposed route from Mumbai will include Raigad, Harihareshwar, Chiplun, Ganpatipule, Pawas, Ratnagiri, Kunkeshwar, Tarkarli, Malwan, Sawantwadi and then return to Mumbai. The buses on the Pune route will halt at Kolhapur, Sawantwadi, Tarkarli, Malwan, Kunkeshwar, Ganpatipule, Pawas and Ratnagiri and also cover Pawan Khind, Panhala Fort, Jyotiba Mandir before returning to Pune.” Kishori Gadre, General Manager, MTDC, added, “We will soon invite Expressions of Interest from recognised tour operators to carry out tours along this route. As of now, MTDC has no plans to purchase more luxury buses as our next focus will be on the sightseeing buses in Mumbai.”
Elaborating on the plan to launch the sightseeing bus tour in Mumbai, Bhujbal stated, “Our aim is to attract more tourists to Maharashtra, and Mumbai is integral to our plans. The sightseeing bus tours will follow the hop-on, hop-off model and will include major tourist attractions in Mumbai such as Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, Gateway of India, Jijamata Udyan, Bandra-Worli Sealink, among others.”