Madhya Pradesh is gearing towards becoming a major hub for adventure activities. The effort has gained traction and upcoming ATTA AdventureNext is likely to further cement the state’s positioning. More interestingly though, the extension of the Golden Triangle – The Golden Arch – has come to benefit Madhya Pradesh immensely. We speak to Yuvraj Padole, Dy. Director – Events, Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board to understand trends, initiatives and much more. Excerpts:
‘The Golden Arch’
In a relatively new development, the extension of the Golden Triangle from Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur to several destinations in proximity has benefitted Madhya Pradesh’s tourism immensely. The extension was being termed as the ‘Golden Arch’ by Madhya Pradesh’s tourism board, Yuvraj Padole told us. The circuit commenced from Gwalior, followed by Datia and Orchha, culminating at Khajuraho. “If tourists have some time on their hand, they can also choose to visit Panna National Park – which is close by from Khajuraho,” he said.
Several factors have aided this added influx of tourists in the region. Rail connectivity had received a major boost with a new train to Khajuraho from Delhi, he said, sharing that Bhopal and Khajuraho had also been connected, further strengthening seamless connectivity. For the uninitiated, direct flights link Khajuraho to Varanasi and Delhi.
Madhya Pradesh now an adventure hub
Madhya Pradesh is also gearing up to host the ATTA AdventureNext in Bhopal in December. Terming it a “major opportunity” for the state, Yuvraj Padole reminisced that a constant effort for the past 2-3 years resulted in bagging the event. “Under the leadership of our MD, we worked with ADTOI and succeeded to host the event in the state,” he said. He emphasized that it was “a big event” and the tourism board was eagerly awaiting to host and highlight the state as a hub of adventure activity. He suggested that the state had evolved in the segment and had enough to offer tourists seeking only adventure-related activities. “We have developed some camping facility in Tamiya valley (a hill station in the Satpura National Park). Hanumantiya is another example where we conduct Jal Mahotsav, an annual event,” he elaborated. He shared that a 4-day, 400 kilometres cycling event named ‘Tour de Satpura’ had also been initiated. “It is also an annual activity,” he noted. In the list of new initiatives, an event named ‘Monsoon Marathon in Panchmadhi’ had also been commenced. In Yuvraj Padole’s admission, the marathon had turned out to be a great attraction for visitors heading to the hill station in the central Indian state.
The state department had mooted privatizing its hotels. Madhya Pradesh, perhaps, had one of the largest inventories under state tourism department, boasting of 44 hotels and lodges, some in the most pristine locales, such as national parks and sanctuaries. Also interesting to note that these properties were operating in profit. Calling the development a “policy matter”, he reflected that the government’s role needed to be limited to providing facilities and creating the infrastructure and not running hotels. “Government’s role could also involve developing new destinations but let the hotels be operated by private stakeholders,” he suggested.
Madhya Pradesh Travel Mart an opportunity for local stakeholders
The soon to be held annual Madhya Pradesh Travel Mart was “a very important platform” for local stakeholders of the tourism industry to interact with their national and global counterparts. “It is a big platform for investors, hotel and resort owners, major and small companies, all of them, come together for interaction,” he explained. He emphasized that it provided added advantage to small travel agents and tour operators who otherwise could not network with their major counterparts.