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Say cheers to wine tourism in state

After Bollywood tourism making it onto the list of things to do in the city, a group of enterprising tour operators are exploring the possibilities of offering wine tourism packages to tourists visiting the state.


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The team recently visited the wine valley and according to sources, the suggestion to boost wine tourism made it to the limelight after Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan showed a sudden interest in boosting tourism in the state with Bollywood, cruises and wine tourism on the cards.

Wine producers had earlier mooted the proposal asking that the government allow them to open wine bars and cafes, and reduce the licence fee to open such centres. They also sought to supply wine at Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation resorts.

Terror fears hit biz
“We can see some positive moves happening. We need to promote wine across India and it can only be done if we have tourism in these valleys. A group of tour operators have visited the valley this month to look at possibilities to boost wine tourism in the state. We too have proposed many such ideas and hope to see some help coming in from the government,” said Jagdish Holkar, president Grape Growers Association Maharashtra.

At a meeting chaired by Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar at Mantralaya in May, the All India Wine Producers’ Association headed by Holkar contended that as the tourist inflow had reduced owing to security issues following the recent terror attacks, hotels have experienced a substantial plunge in wine sales. They have also complained that since the terror attacks left a pall of gloom over the hospitality industry, there were fewer people staying in hotels and visiting restaurants.

Few such packages
“It is the need of the hour and we have to do much to promote wine. There are barely any wine packages for tourists. Also, we need to have proper infrastructure and support of the tourism department in order to promote wine in India. We also need to study the possibilities, as to what we can offer to tourists,” said a tour operator.

The flow so far
Recent figures reveal that as many as 22 wineries across the state owe a whopping Rs 8.85 crore to grape producers supplying grapes for
wine manufacturing.

The available figures show that till November 20, 2011, the state registered Rs 72 crore worth sale of wine, out of which Rs 14.5 crore went towards the state kitty through various taxes.

Out of that, Rs 11.8 crore was given back to wine producers through subsidies and the state government only benefited with Rs 2.7 crore. 

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