The Maharashtra government on Wednesday cleared the caravan tourism policy in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, keeping in mind the safety concerns of travel enthusiasts. The cabinet meeting was chaired by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.
The approved policy consists of two parts — caravan park and caravan — so that tourists can enjoy the diverse natural beauty of the state. It is also aimed at increasing employment in the state.
There will be different types of caravans — single axle conventional caravan, twin axle caravan, tent trailer, folding caravan, and camper trailer. Each caravan van will be equipped with a kitchen, toilet, bed, sofa and a table among other amenities. The caravan has to be registered with the Commissioner of Transport.
Caravan parks will be allowed to accommodate caravans and camper vans of all sizes. The parking lot will have all necessary facilities such as separate water connections, toilets, road connectivity, and electricity connections. The place will also have a tourist facility centre. Wheelchairs will be provided for the differently-abled. Necessary permissions for this will be given by the local authorities.
Caravans will be allowed to park in the vicinity of MTDC’s tourist accommodation or on their open lands, as well as at agri-tourism centres.
Under the policy, incentives will be provided to caravan vehicles and for setting up caravan parks across the state. Permission from the Tourism department will be required for registration of caravans and caravan parks. People will be trained in hygiene, marketing, and management by the Tourism department and the initiative will be widely publicised, a statement read.
Tour operators can also register themselves online . The registration fee has been fixed at Rs 5,000 and the renewal fee will be Rs 2,000.
At a time when tourism is one of the worst-hit sectors in the state as well as in the country, the caravan policy will be a breath of fresh air for state revenue as well as for travel enthusiasts.
Speaking on the occasion, Supriya Karmarkar-Datar, Deputy Director, Tourism, Pune Division, said, “Registration of Caravans and Caravans Park would require discussion with the Directorate of Tourism. Relevant professionals will be given training in marketing, hygiene, management through the Directorate of Tourism. This tourism concept will facilitate the stay of tourists as well as encourage private investment. This will make it possible to organize family trips, experience different from hotel and accommodation arrangements, make proper use of the area, promote tourism in remote areas, and provide employment opportunities.”
“Areas near Pune’s dams, hilltops, and foothills can be used for caravan tourism. The catchment area of Dhom Dam, Masai Plateau near Kolhapur, Jawali Valley, foothills of forts in Velhe taluka, Kamshet, Mulshi dam catchment area have more scope for tourism. These places will be able to accommodate tourists through Caravans”, she added.