I have always been a reasonably proud Mumbaikar, born and brought up in a city that is known for its safety (for women), spirit and of course its street food (the famous vada pav). On a serious note, the city has so much to offer and has its charm, which is lost in the Mumbai madness. Amidst the hustle and bustle there exists pockets of taste and tranquillity that is seldom explored. There are some interesting walks and trails, which transport you to a Mumbai that belies common perception. The 28th IATO Convention 2012 is being held in this city after 20 years, which should help give the city and the state of Maharashtra its much needed tourism impetus. Apart from Mumbai, Pune which is just three hours away, is also worth exploring. Express TravelWorld and Express Hospitality recently conducted an editorial round table discussion with industry leaders from Mumbai and Pune, highlighting Pune’s tourism potential under the title, Knowledge Exchange: Positioning Pune – Waiting in the Wings, excerpts of which you will find in this issue.
Maharashtra has a plethora of tourism offerings for the discerning travellers, from the forts and caves to wineries and wildlife, from beaches to Bollywood, from textiles to adventure from pilgrimage sites to hill stations. This is truly a product that is waiting to be explored – all it needs is some serious commitment from the authorities in the tourism department to make it happen. This IATO convention, on a positive note, may become the beginning of a success story that Maharashtra tourism needs to script. Speaking about scripts, our cover story highlights the strong connection between films and tourism. Cinema plays a decisive role in building the desire to travel to visually appealing destinations that are reflected in its reels. Today, international tourism boards are bending backwards to a large extent to invite film makers to shoot movies in their towns and cities to attract the robust Indian outbound. Incentives like single-window clearances and seamless post and pre production processes, etc are all being offered. On the home turf, there are states such as Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan who have put into place pro-film shooting initiatives and packages. Producers have gone on record highlighting what it takes to shoot films both in India and abroad. The cover story speaks about this interesting relationship.
Finally, the IATO convention’s theme mentions the word ‘Together’, which is profound. It is time the tourism industry (that includes hospitality, aviation, car rentals and other stakeholders) thinks and acts together as a common force. The government on the other hand should seriously address the issues that the industry is hoping to resolve since decades. Together also means working in tandem with public-private synergy.