MP to inaugurate Khajuraho Convention Centre today

MP to inaugurate Khajuraho Convention Centre today

Madhya Pradesh government has identified tourism as one of the leading sectors for development and aims to promote the state as an attractive destination for both domestic and international travelers.

There is a sustained focus on infrastructure development, restoration of heritage sites, development of natural reserves and biodiversity, promotion of sustainable and responsible tourism as well as rural tourism. Excerpts from a conversation with Yuvraj Padole, Deputy Director, Events and Marketing, Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board

ETTravelWorld (ETTW): What is the kind of preparation that Madhya Pradesh is engaging in for the opening of the Khajuraho convention center and the ICPB meet?

Yuvraj Padole (YP): With the ICPB event we will also be inaugurating our convention center in Khajuraho, which is newly constructed, and after this, we look forward to receiving many more conferences and conventions in Madhya Pradesh.

For this event, we have invited a limited number of guests from Delhi and they will be there for two days (March 25 and 26). We have made all the adequate arrangements and precautionary measures have been taken. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, will be inaugurating the function and the Union Minister for Tourism and Culture, Prahlad Singh Patel, will also be there.

The district administration has ensured that all the SOPs are followed while receiving the guests and that social distancing is maintained at all times. The convention center can accommodate more than 1200 people, but we have invited only 100 plus guests for the event to ensure that the SOPs are followed at all times.

ETTW: Are you planning more such events in the state soon enough?

YP: We have been lucky enough to not have been so badly affected by the second wave of Covid-19, but if things get back to normal soon, we are planning to have our annual festivals as well as various programs and annual events, like the Madhya Pradesh Travel Mart, of which we have already hosted five editions and would like to continue with that. But since right now there are no international arrivals, we intend to start such events only after October, but having said that, it would depend a lot on how things pan out and whether the situation is back to normal.

ETTW: Ever since you opened the state to domestic tourists, how has the response been so far?

YP: Madhya Pradesh is a versatile state that offers a variety of tourism products.

After Covid-19 we have focused on wellness tourism, mindful tourism, rural tourism, and also adventure tourism. In these activities, you don’t need many people, but at the same time, you can enjoy the vacation along with the activity you want to be involved in. So, it serves two benefits -firstly, it serves the purpose of you going somewhere for a vacation and secondly, you are also doing something which is related to health, fitness, and sports.

Our homestays, gramstays, and also farm stays are also doing well. Through these, travelers get a chance to engage with the people living in these villages and get to witness their life, up close and personal.

We also started wellness tourism very recently in Pachmarhi, where we have opened a health center, which not just offers a spa and various Ayurveda treatments, but is also nestled in the lap of nature offering a pollution-free environment, where one can opt for walks or go on a trek.

ETTW: Yes, wellness tourism in secluded places is also a perfect fit for post-Covid travelers who would avoid traveling to crowded places.

YP: Absolutely, travelers are asking for these kinds of places, they don’t want to go and stand in a queue where they are surrounded by people. People are aware, they are cautious, and they are taking all kinds of precautions and taking utmost care to ensure safety.

ETTW: You’ve spoken about various kinds of tourism that the state has developed, how is MP faring in terms of film tourism as there are quite a few OTT shows that have been shot in the state, and considering that you have also come out with a film tourism policy?

YP: Madhya Pradesh is a popular state for filmmaking and our film tourism policy also lays down that any filmmaker who comes and shoots in the state will also get some kind of subsidy after the completion and release of their film. As of now, more than 20 films are on the floor, including OTT platforms.

ETTW: Through our interactions with filmmakers, what we’ve come to understand is that more than subsidies, filmmakers are asking for a mechanism wherein it is easy for them to shoot films as far as permissions are concerned.

YP: Yes, that’s correct. There are many filmmakers who have told us that Madhya Pradesh offers them hassle-free shooting opportunities, without additional problems and restrictions. We have created a single-window system, which provides ease of doing business.

So, all the permissions, clearances, and all kinds of assistance to the filmmakers are awarded through a single-window system and Madhya Pradesh tourism has been appointed the nodal agency for this purpose and this is what makes filmmakers come to the state again and again to shoot their films.

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