Marketing Madhya Pradesh tourism is a challenge: Jyotiraditya Scindia

March 9th, 2008 - 2:26 pm ICT by admin  

By Azera Rahman
Gwalior, March 9 (IANS) Jyotiraditya M. Scindia, MP and scion of the erstwhile royal family of Gwalior, says Madhya Pradesh has much to offer tourists but it is “not marketed well enough”. And he now wants to take tourism in the state to new heights and in turn create jobs for thousands. “Madhya Pradesh is like a bouquet with the highest offering as far as tourism goes. The only challenge is that it’s not marketed well enough,” Scindia, sitting in his office adjoining the Moti Mahal palace here, told IANS.

“What we are looking at therefore is to boost tourism in the entire Madhya Pradesh by developing a circuit of three important historical places - Gwalior, Shivpuri and Chanderi and in the process offer job opportunities to thousands of people,” he said.

A large portrait of his father, late Madhavrao Scindia, hangs behind him and an autographed photograph of Sir Don Bradman decorates the otherwise simple office.

Dressed in a light blue striped kurta, Scindia, who has studied at the well-known Doon School and spent eight years abroad, speaks impeccable English but he admitted that he’s far more comfortable speaking in Hindi.

He said that his latest initiative, the Gwalior Heritage Festival that culminated Sunday, is a step towards this direction.

“The Gwalior Heritage Festival showcases the musical legacy of the city. We plan to make this an annual affair. Besides this, we are also working towards making the city an ideal tourist destination by improving accessibility, by road and air, and developing a circuit around the city so that if a tourist goes on a heritage walk around it, he will see all the key historical places.

“I have seen that abroad, the simplest of the simple architecture is hyped so much but here, the most beautiful and fascinating architecture goes unnoticed because no one knows about it. Through these initiatives I want to make Gwalior the gateway to Madhya Pradesh,” said 36-year-old Scindia.

He said that the tourism ministry had sanctioned Rs.85 million to develop the Shivpuri-Gwalior-Chanderi circuit.

“Rs.3.5 crore (Rs.35 million) was sanctioned for Gwalior, less than a crore for the Shivpuri Chhatri complex and the rest of the Rs.8.5 crore (Rs.85 million) for Chanderi where a crafts centre will be developed. The entire project was sanctioned by Renuka Chowdhury in the end of 2005, when she was tourism minister.

“The development and restoration work in Gwalior is nearly complete and with that the country’s first computerised lighting system has been installed at the Moti Mahal palace,” he said.

But he admitted that the entire process of making Madhya Pradesh an ideal tourist destination would take a minimum of 15-20 years.

“Rajasthan’s incredible tourism scene was not created in a single day. This is a process that requires continuous investment, attention and involvement. It will take us a minimum 15-20 years to realise our dream,” Scindia said.

“Also, just restoring the historical places is not enough if they are not utilised with human resources. We aim to organise various cultural festivals in these places so as to keep them alive,” he added.

The young MP said that his ultimate dream was to be like his father.

“I just hope I can occupy that special place in people’s hearts as my father did. This is the reason I also joined politics,” he smiled.

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