Tourist facilities at an interval of 25km along the road connecting Kanha and Bandavgarh, a central tracking system so that tourists can get immediate help if they face any kind of trouble, light and sound show in Indore’s Rajwada and other places, exploring the potential of an annual tourism festival on the banks of the Narmada river to promote the state’s art and culture–these were a few of the upcoming plans disclosed by the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Mr Shivraj Singh Chouhan, at the recently held MP Travel Mart (MPTM) in Bhopal.
In its second year, MPTM 2015 was held at the Lake View Ashok Hotel from October 16-18, 2015. A Madhya Pradesh Tourism initiative, the mart was attended by 250 hosted buyers and media from 10 countries and major travel markets of India. A host of dignitaries shared the stage during the inauguration, including the state’s tourism minister–Surendra Patwa, secretary tourism--Veera Rana, IAS and managing director of MPSTDC–Hari Ranjan Rao, IAS.
Madhya Pradesh, India's second largest state by area, is home to some of India's biggest tourist attractions. From UNESCO World Heritage sites to India’s famous tiger reserves, the state offers a wide range of options to visitors. The four major destinations–Bhopal, Gwalior, Indore and Jabalpur–connect the state with the rest of the country, which is a boon agreed most tour operators present at the mart. As Ujjain will be hosting the Simhastha Kumbha Mela in 2016 (April 22 — May 21), for which preparations are going on in full swing, Madhya Pradesh Tourism has decided to use the event as a platform to promote the state’s many attractions. It has declared 2015-16 as the Tourism Year.
The exclusive Madhya Pradesh pavilion in the main exhibition hall offered a good idea of the many ways the state can be explored. Apart from the regular offers, the various hospitality and tour operators from the state also focused on eco-tourism circuits, golf tourism and adventure sports. There were kiosks highlighting the art, culture and cuisine of MP. Indian and foreign guests marvelled at the finely woven Chanderi saris and the Gond paintings. The rest of the exhibition hall was devoted to hotels and tour operators from other parts of India, including several state tourism departments. One morning, all participants were invited to go on a hop-on hop-off heritage tour through old Bhopal, which revealed to us the architectural heritage of the city. Some of the now derelict buildings are likely to be restored, we were told by our walk coordinator, Sikander Malik. The mart concluded on a cheerful note as we got busy preparing for the various familiarisation tours arranged by Madhya Pradesh Tourism–but that’s another story.