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Madhya Pradesh is currently ranked the sixth largest tourism state in India. The aim, however, is to become number one, said Shivraj Singh Chauhan, Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, while inaugurating the maiden Madhya Pradesh travel Mart in Bhopal. Chauhan informed that Madhya Pradesh has become leader in growth rate. “The state registered 11 per cent growth in GSDP and 24 per cent growth in agriculture in 2013-14 which is the highest in India,” he said. Chouhan further added that next year will be celebrated as Tourism Year in the state.

He highlighted the immense tourism potential of the state and said that the state houses three World Heritage Sites : Sanchi, Khajuraho and Bhim Bhetka. Madhya Pradesh also has nine National Parks and 25 sanctuaries.

Surendra Patwa, Tourism Minister of Madhya Pradesh, opined that the state is focusing in rapid development of tourism by strengthening tourism-related infrastructure. Hari Ranjan Rao, Secteratry (Tourism), Madhya Pradesh informed that the state has the largest forest cover in the country. “We have divided the entire state in 16 tourism zones where the government is offering a slew of sops to draw private investment. These zones offer exemption from registration fees and stamp duty for tourism projects and full exemption of luxury and entertainment tax for 10 years. We already have adequate land bank near tourist destinations. We are also in the process of framing a new aviation policy,” he said.

Speaking with T3 on the sidelines of the Mart, Raghwendra K Singh, Managing Director, Madhya Pradesh Tourism, said that the state tourism department has amended its tourism policy to make it more investor friendly. “We are offering exemption from luxury tax in the new policy, which will be applicable for eight years for new hotels. The exemption will be for five years in Indore and Bhopal. Luxury tax will not be imposed on hotels having an ARR of Rs. 3000 during the three off season months. Heritage hotels will be eligible for exemption for 10 years and Bed & beakfast establishments will be also be exempted,” he added.

He also informed that the government is also offering capital investment subsidy to hotels. “The new policy offers 35 per cent capital subsidy (up to Rs 1.5 crore) to heritage hotels, 10 per cent capital subsidy to Budget hotels on government land 20 per cent on private land. We are also offering 25 per cent capital subsidy (up to Rs 10 crores) on developing convention centres,” he added.

Giving details on the land bank, Singh informed that the state tourism department has a land bank of over 400 hectares. “These land parcels are available at Gandhisagar, Orchha, Khajuraho, Sanchi, Basnsagar and Indirasagar among other places. We are offering land parcels at Indirasagar for mega aqua resort, Riasen, Dhar, Tala and Khajuraho for golf course and Dhar for eco-resort,” he informed.

Speaking at the inauguration, Sarabjit Singh, Sr VP, Indian Association of Tour Operators, said that better facilities are being made available to tourists in Madhya Pradesh. Subhash Verma, Secretary General, FAITH, said that the state government is undertaking laudable efforts in tourism sector.

MP Travel Mart receives buyers from 10 countries

The first edition of Madhya Pradesh Travel Mart has received a good response from India and overseas markets. Held from 18-20 October 2014 in Bhopal, the Mart was inaugurated by Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauahan in the presence of Surendra Patwa, Minister for Tourism & Culture of Madhya Pradesh, senior officials from state tourism ministry and department and buyers, sellers and media, both from India and other foreign countries. The Mart witnessed 115 buyers and media from 10 countries such as USA, UK, Australia, Russia, Ukraine, Germany, Hungary, Mexico, Poland, Singapore, Sri Lanka and India who conducted over 2000 B2B appointments with sellers.

The event witnessed participation from state tourism departments of Chattisgarh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat and state’s hotel like Jehanuma Palace Hotel, Kanha Village Eco Resort, Courtyard by Marriott,Radisson Blue Hotel,The Baagh-Kanha,Residency Hotel and Noor-us-sabah Palace among others.

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