On Wednesday, the Maharashtra government cleared an ambitious 'Adventure Tourism Policy' for the state, six months after it approved the Caravan Tourism Policy in February. Presided over by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, the state cabinet gave its nod to the much-anticipated policy, intended to give a huge fillip to tourism in the state, especially in the post-pandemic era.
An official said that the policy includes encouraging adventurous activities like hiking, trekking, cycling and others with an emphasis on safety and security, and hence unscrupulous operators would not be permitted.
However, it would not be applicable to competitive expeditions or other jungle activities but will showcase the rich natural offerings in the state for adventurous exploits of the brave and daring.
The state offers dense forests, mountain ranges of the Western Ghats, rivers, lakes, beaches on the coastal Konkan, etc, with immense potential for air, land and water adventure tourism activities which is not only a growing segment but much in demand globally.
Among other things, the policy envisages providing special assistance to different organisations, associations and individuals engaged in or organising adventures sports and related activities, registration, regulation, strict monitoring, training, providing necessary infrastructure, and promotions.
Presently, the state has a handful of groups and organisations offering limited seasonal activities like hiking, trekking, mountaineering, forest camps, jungle safaris, rock-climbing, river-rafting, para-gliding, para-sailing, bungee-jumping, hot air balloon rides, sailing, etc at certain locations, though many are considered expensive.
After the Caravan Tourism Policy, the Adventure Tourism Policy was one of the pet projects of Tourism Minister Aditya Thackeray, who has initiated other measures in the past to catapult the state onto the global tourist map.