The Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, recently organised a two-day conference to bring together all the state governments, union territory administrations and private sector stakeholders of the western region on a common platform to discuss and take forward a holistic and integrated development of tourism in the region. Inaugurating the Second Western Regional Conference of Tourism Ministers at Aurangabad, Union Tourism Minister Subodh Kant Sahai outlined the vision of his ministry for developing tourism during the 12th Five Year Plan. This set the tone for the state governments and union territory administrations to share their development plans through comprehensive presentations. The presentations made by the state governments and union territory administrations highlighted matters related to the development of infrastructure through integrated planning, public-private partnerships, convergence of resources, manpower development, strategies for promoting intra- and inter-state domestic tourism, and implementation of a code of conduct for ‘safe & honourable tourism’ and ‘sustainable tourism.’ Prithviraj Chavan, Chief Minister of Maharashtra, and Sultan Ahmed, Union Minister of State for Tourism, were also present at the inauguration ceremony. The participating states included Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Goa, Chhattisgarh and the Union Territories of Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu. The significant presence of the private sector representing various trade bodies and associations like FICCI, CII, TAAI, IATO, HAI, FHRAI and ITTA reinforces the commitment of all the stakeholders toward the success of public-private partnerships in the development of tourism. Union Tourism Secretary R H Khwaja led a delegation comprising senior officials of the Ministry of Tourism, State Tourism Departments and private stakeholders on a visit to the World Heritage Sites of Ajanta and Ellora. The objective of the visit was to assess the existing infrastructure and the need for the further development of these sites.
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