MTDC to convert more than 20 Maharashtra forts into heritage hotels
With this plan, Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation aims to promote private investment into the tourism sector
The state-run Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) has identified about 25 forts across the state that will be offered to heritage hoteliers and hospitality chains on lease. Besides developing tourism and attracting private investment in tourism, the government is also hoping that the new policy will help in generating resources to preserve these monuments.
While Maharashtra has 353 forts, about 100 are listed as protected monuments. With heritage tourism already big in neighbouring Rajasthan and Goa, the state is now hoping to cash in on this trend. A study commissioned by the MTDC had earlier found that there was a lot of potential in tapping the niche tourism segment.
In recent times, palace and fort hotels have become popular as venues of destination weddings. Besides residential hotels, officials said that the plan is to convert some of these destinations as venues for weddings and entertainment shows.
“The Cabinet has approved the new policy. We have plans to promote heritage tourism.” said state Tourism Secretary Vinita Vaid-Singhal. Following the Cabinet nod, the tourism department will soon invite expression of interest (EOI) from heritage hotels and chains to shortlist partners on a fort-to-fort basis.
To ward off any opposition from conservationists and historians, the government has said that the aesthetic value of the forts will have be retained. It plans to disallow any new permanent construction at these sites.
As per the policy, there are 350 properties under the MTDC, which could be given on a revenue-sharing formula or a one-time premium charged to private players. The model has already been followed in Rajasthan and Goa, officials from the tourism department said, adding it would help develop the properties better and create a tourist ecosystem in the vicinity.
Some of the forts to be leased out in the first phase include Kandhar, Nagardhan, Nandur, Korigad, Laling, Salher, Parola, and Ghodbunder.