The Maharashtra Maritime Board (MMB) has already invited proposals for the state’s beaches to become popular water sports destinations with activities like jet-skiing, parasailing, water rafting at Vasai, Alibaug, Murud, Ganpatipule and Malvan beaches, amongst others. The government believes this is one way to tap into the tourism market in the state, which receives about 6.6 crore domestic visitors and 50 lakh foreign tourists a year, said a report in this paper yesterday.
It also stated that the idea has met with good response, and the MMB hopes that with this, they can bring down the rates of good quality water sports facilities for tourists. Currently, water sports remain the domain of private operators and so, they do charge exorbitant rates for the same.
While the initiative is laudable and it is interesting to know that the response has been good, it is time tourism authorities focus on basic infrastructure on this belt before even putting the adventure sports concept into action. Every institution or idea needs a good solid base from which it can build.
The base here, to attract more tourists, is better infrastructure. Better roads are a must for access to these places. There must be enough hotel facilities for tourists. These should be clean and of high quality. Safety is a huge factor, especially for women tourists. Well-lit pathways, electricity and water are other basics that should be in place.
Then, of course, come the beaches. They should be clean, and there must be accessible washrooms on or very close to the beaches. Lifeguards are a must and medical facilities should be easily accessible or available onsite. This is the foundation of tourism, really.
It is once all this is in place, that facilities like water sports can be looked into. The state already has the stunning, verdant coastline as a lure for tourists. Now, to put in the basics and then add perks like water sports to make this a holistic tourist experience.