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Exploring business in culture tourism in Pune

Virasat Pune Club is encouraging entrepreneurs from the city and beyond to explore setting up businesses dealing with culture tourism; mid-day takes a look at how it can be done

If you have knowledge about the heritage of the city, and can talk about it, you can easily earn money, believes Virasat Pune Club, which has started a new initiative, encouraging entrepreneurs to explore business in culture tourism in Pune. The club has been promoting businesses that run Heritage Walks, Agritourism, Food tastings, etc, encouraging entrepreneurs to promote the city’s heritage sites and earn profits at the same time.

Shaniwar Wada
Pune and its surrounding areas are home to various forts and cultural sites, including Shaniwar Wada, which can be explored for heritage walks. File pic.

One such successful entrepreneurs from Pune district, Manoj Hadawale, who has been promoting Agritourism in Junnar, said, “Culture tourism is a vast, unexplored business; one should just know how to promote it. In Junnar, there are many heritage sites and forts that travellers are interested in. To run this kind of business successfully, one must have extensive historical knowledge about the area.”

Sharing similar sentiments is Daya Sudama who is a trained guide from Ministry of Tourism for Heritage Walks. “If you have good command over history and know how to share it with people, you can definitely make money out of it. I don’t have to invest anything when I take people for Heritage Walks and make profit by simply sharing information,” she said, adding that the business is constantly expanding, as people who are new to the city are interested in knowing about it.

Heritage hub
Pune has a lot to offer culturally – whether it is sightseeing, exploring the cuisine or simply taking a walk through bazaars, experiencing the unique culture of the place. Prajakta Panashikar, Deputy Director, Janwani, Virasat Club, said, “We want to promote heritage-related tourism in the city and inform entrepreneurs about this profit-earning venture. It will also help generate more employment in the area.”

“At present, events like Heritage Walks are mostly conducted during weekends. But I believe we can expand the scope and also reach out to schools to bring kids to heritage sites for picnics where they can learn about history as well. For now, I charge around R2,000 for a group of five-six people, for only sharing my knowledge with them,” added Daya.

Deepa Krishnan, who runs a successful business of Heritage Walks and culture tourism said, “We organise tours that is a win-win situation for us; by designing high quality experiential tours for clients and bringing benefit to locals. It is not rocket science, but needs creativity and willingness to experiment. We earn profits from the tours and at the same time, promote local craft. Heritage and business can definitely go hand-in-hand.”

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