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Madhya Pradesh steps up efforts to attract tourists

As for now, the travellers are looking for safety first, to bring down the anxiety of potential tourists, MPSTDC and fellow stakeholders are adopting and following the safety measures as per the guidelines of Ministry of Tourism & State Department of Health for Covid-19

Sheo Shekhar Shukla, Managing Director of Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board
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Sheo Shekhar Shukla, Managing Director of Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board

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Post pandemic, keeping in mind the new normal, Madhya Pradesh Tourism is focusing more on the destinations that fits into the frame of experiential activities such as responsible tourism, activity filled tourism, wellness, and mindful tourism. On top of the mind are: promotion of home stays, gram stays and farm stays as a safe and culturally rich stay option for the guests to experience the rich rural culture, food and traditions of the State and have healthy non polluted tourism. Speaking to

Bizz Buzz exclusively, Sheo Shekhar Shukla, Principal Secretary, Tourism & Culture, Government of Madhya Pradesh, and Managing Director of Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board, outlines strategies of promoting lesser-known and better-known destinations simultaneously, reflecting the true spirit of 'SabkuchjoDilChahe'.

Travel and tourism is one of the worst affected sectors post pandemic. Have things started looking up for MP tourism? How do you propose to bounce back and make up for the losses during the pandemic?

We are focusing on both the lesser-known destinations as well as the better-known destinations.

The strategy is to promote road trips in Monsoons for which we have tied up with renowned influencers and a campaign #Monsoon Magic is launched with an objective to promote the monsoon destinations of Madhya Pradesh to their thousands of followers. The campaign will also be amplified through radio jingles and also on social media platforms.

#Buffermainsafar Campaign is also launched to promote the buffer areas of tiger reserves to the potential wildlife enthusiasts, as the beauty of monsoon at its peak along with the greenery of jungles is something which no wilderness lover would like to miss.

Another digital media campaign #IntezaarAapka was carried out through a series of social media posts covering various destinations of Madhya Pradesh including Bandhavgarh, Gwalior, Khajuraho, Mandu, Pachmarhi, etc.

As for now, the travellers are looking for safety first, to bring down the anxiety of potential tourists, MPSTDC and fellow stakeholders are adopting and following the safety measures as per the guidelines of Ministry of Tourism & State Department of Health for Covid-19.

We are also focusing on promotion of home stays as a safe and culturally enriched stay option.

PR activities are also built around each of the campaign to give the campaign maximum reach and leverage.

Do you see any perceptible change/shift in tourists' preferences from urban areas towards natural surroundings? How MP tourism can cash in on that?

Keeping in mind the new normal our focus is more on the destinations that fits into the frame of experiential activities such as responsible tourism, activity filled tourism, wellness, and mindful tourism. We are in to promotion of home stays, gram stays and farm stays as a safe and culturally rich stay option for the guests to experience the rich rural culture, food and traditions of the State and have healthy non polluted tourism. We also have created special itineraries for our source markets to promote destination Madhya Pradesh.

Madhya Pradesh Tourism has collaborated with UNESCO to guide the state for heritage-based sustainable urban development in Gwalior and Orchha. The MP Tourism Board's objective for joining the UNESCO's HUL (Heritage Urban Landscape) project is to ascertain the role of heritage in local development plans, devise a methodology to establish the values and attributes and give recommendations for future development.

The state's tourism board is putting its efforts in promoting these tourism offerings to make them more relevant to the evolving travellers. The attempt is to present a more community-based, holistic, green, and eco-friendly model of tourism.

What are the most preferred tourism destinations in Madhya Pradesh?

Madhya Pradesh being a versatile state offers an assortment of attractions like wildlife, heritage, culture, religious, and architecture to everyone who loves to travel.

The State is blessed with forests, rivers, lakes, mountains having numerous wildlife hotspots with 11 national parks and 24 wildlife sanctuaries, water bodies, hill stations and many more. Madhya Pradesh is also known as "the tiger state of the country."

The state is also very rich in its culture and heritage. The UNESCO world heritage sites at Khajuraho, Bhimbetka & Sanchi are the iconic sites in the state, apart from two Jyotirlingas. Madhya Pradesh is having many beautiful architectural sites in Orchha, Mandu, Gwalior Burhanpur, Bhopal and many more. The culture and tradition of the State is also very versatile.

Madhya Pradesh tourism has developed various activities and plans to make the State a tourist friendly destination. We have also signed MoU with 'eco-tourism society of India' for sustainable and responsible tourism. Our aim is to create future eco-tourism warriors by involving youngsters in various activities at the nature camp spread all over the State.

We are constantly working to improve and create new and innovative ways to promote tourism in the state.

Are you giving special thrust on promoting rural/village tourism, home stay, etc?

We are in to promotion of home stays, gram stays and farm stays as a safe and culturally rich stay option for the guests to experience the rich Rural Culture, Food and Traditions of the State and have healthy non polluted environment. We have already developed six home stays in villages near Orchha, Khajuraho, Panna and Sidhi. Identified 100 villages for developing home stays. Already started working in 60 villages to develop home stay.

Are you coming up with any tourism products to draw tourists?

Madhya Pradesh has already came up with sky diving, hot air ballooning, night safari in jungle, rock art trails, food trails, textile trails, craft trails, Buddhist trails and many more activity filled experiences to draw tourists.

How important is local food and local culture in your scheme of things to promote tourism?

Madhya Pradesh being a culturally rich state has one message to share i.e. #SabkuchjoDilChahe. The state is one stop destination that offers safety, hygiene, greenery for travellers. It's a round year destination that offers everything that a heart desires be it wildlife, heritage, food, shopping, culture etc. It has something for everyone, an ideal destination across age groups and travel interests.

Ritwik Mukherjee
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