M.P. looks to leverage health and wellness to attract tourists

State to also focus on rural tourism

To attract more tourists to the State, the Madhya Pradesh government is re-working its tourism strategy to focus on health and wellness as well as rural tourism following COVID-19, a senior official told The Hindu.

“We are working on re-branding the State and re-organising our strategy in post COVID-19 times where the stress will be on health and wellness. We are in discussions with some good players in this space who are willing to offer quality service to tourists across various budgets and needs,” said Sonia Meena, Additional Managing Director, Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board.

Ms. Meena added that these players would soon be invited to set up shop in the State for offering services, including spas and yoga retreats. “Madhya Pradesh is less commercialised till now … We want to give not just yoga but other options as well which will help tourists cut away from the routine. In this direction, rural homestays will also be our focus,” she added.

Ms. Meena said that while tourism had been brutally affected, thanks to “revenge tourism,” tourists had started coming back and there was a growth in number of tourists in some destinations such as wildlife sanctuary.

“From October onwards, there has been a definite jump in number of tourist arrivals. This is driven by destinations such as wildlife area, national park etc … which are isolated and not very crowded. For example, the Kanah National Park saw 49,000 tourists in October-December 2019, which grew to 55,000 in the same period of 2020,” she said.

While it was unlikely that the State would make up for the lost month, Ms. Meena expressed confidence that next year they were targeting to get back to pre-COVID tourist numbers.

The State is also organising a series of festivals to woo tourists, including the two-day Mandu Festival with curated historical walks, experiential cycling tours, Malipur horse trail, photo contests, yoga workshops, culinary delights, art and craft and musical performances.

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