Akshay Kumar– Mumbai
Following the success of the first edition, Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) is all set to celebrate the second edition of Diwali celebration at the Times Square, New York on September 20, 2014. Last year the recorded footfall was 4.5 lakh, this year MTDC is expecting a total attendance of around six to seven lakh. The budget for this year’s event is INR three crore plus and also the area for the festival has been increased by 40 to 50 per cent. MTDC organises this festival along with ASB 360 Communications to showcase Maharashtra as a 365-day tourist destination.
Chhagan Bhujbal, minister of tourism, Government of Maharashtra, said, “Times Square is one of the most visited destination in the world, more than four lakh pedestrians visit this place every day. We want to showcase the culture, tradition and food of Maharashtra to the world and this is the best place to showcase it. I am very glad that Maharashtra Tourism has taken such a tremendous stride in opening itself up to the overseas market. Initiatives like this event at New York has made a definite impact on the number of overseas tourists visiting our state.”
Maharashtra Mandals from across USA, Canada and Mexico and eminent Indian professionals from medical and legal fraternities will participate in a big number. The event has been scheduled in September to ensure that foreign tourists are made aware of Maharashtra’s festivals, and accordingly can plan their visit in October during Diwali. The cultural festival includes Indian food, dance, diya and rangoli painting, Indian arts and crafts, fashion show, photo booths with ethnic outfits, celebrity autograph and photo booth, dahi handi, mallkhamb and a lot more.
Speaking about their further plans, Bhujbal, said, “As we are celebrating this festival in such a large scale, we will ensure that the foreign tourists do visit Maharashtra. We are organising a B2B roadshow in Chicago and San Francisco to make the US travel trade fraternity aware about Maharashtra. Also, some officials from London have shown interest in hosting such a fest in UK as well, but this is still at a very nascent stage.”