Despite the pandemic hitting the international tourism market on a large scale for Madhya Pradesh, the state has been the 8th favorite tourism state of the country for the local tourists as per the Indian Tourism Statistics 2021, stated Sheo Shekhar Shukla, Principal Secretary, Tourism & Culture, Madhya Pradesh and Managing Director, Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board.
Speaking to ETTravelWorld, Shukla further informed that despite the hit, Madhya Pradesh was one of the first few to receive the rush of tourists after the restrictions were eased.
According to the figures accessed by the tourism department and shared by Shukla, around 2.4 crores of domestic and foreign tourist visitors visited Madhya Pradesh during the year of the pandemic and ‘the numbers have only grown ever since’.
The state recently saw the Kuno-Palpur National Park (KPNP)in the Sheopur district catching the headlines with the arrival of new cheetahs brought from Namibia as part of an intercontinental translocation project. “This development of Kuno-Palpur National Park will be integral to attracting tourists and visitors from all over the world,” said Shukla.
“Interest from tourists, investors and developers has recently surged since the declaration of the Cheetah project. This will not only create employment opportunities but will also be crucial for socio-cultural development of local communities and nearby villages,” he informed.
While there is a lot of excitement amongst the residents, the owners of the resorts near Kuno are expecting positive outcomes as well. One of them had recently stated that after the news of the reintroducing of Cheetahs to the region was disseminated, the activities of tourism already geared up, as quite many people have already started to make accommodation reservations in advance.On that note, Shukla shared, “A lot of inquiries have already surfaced about the possibilities of investment and development in and around the area. The spike in the demand for land for developing resorts and hotels is evident which has also led to the increase in value of the lands.”
MP Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan who was recently speaking on the occasion of the launch of two new flights linking Indore with Gwalior and Jabalpur, also expressed that the Cheetah Project will not just play an important role in boosting tourism in the state but will also help in expanding air connectivity.
“Besides enjoying the tag of a ‘tiger and leopard state,’ Madhya Pradesh is now a cheetah state also and this will help in the expansion of tourism and air services,” he said, informing that a greenfield airport has been proposed in Dewas district with the land already earmarked.
Apart from being the frontrunner in promoting its wildlife to India and the world, MP has been sketching efforts to boost its film tourism segment. Highlighting the significance of the segment for the state, with new milestones to its credit, Shukla shared that MP has won the title ‘Best Film Friendly State’ twice. He informs that the Madhya Pradesh government has brought Film Shooting permissions under the Public Services Guarantee (PSG) Act, becoming the first state in the country to do so.
Under the PSG Act, there is a provision to allow film shooting in 15 working days. A single window clearance facility is available for all filming permissions in the state.
Further, in the context of Madhya Pradesh being ‘Film-friendly’, more than 350 films, serials, web series and other projects have been shot in the state, informed Shukla. Also, it is the first state which has included web series, OTT original content, TV serials and documentaries in the grant given under the film policy.
“The state government, under the guidance of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan also provides lucrative financial subsidies/ incentives to filmmakers shooting in Madhya Pradesh in a very transparent manner,” Shukla added.
As per the department’s film tourism policy, for the first feature film shot in the state, the government offers a financial subsidy of up to INR 1 cr. or 25 percent of the total cost of production (COP) and for the second up to INR 1.25 cr with criteria of a minimum of 50 percent of total shooting days in the state. The subsidy for 3rd and onward films is up to INR 1.50 cr. or 25 percent of total COP with the same percentage of total shooting days.
The policy additionally states that if the state of Madhya Pradesh is prominently featured in a feature film and the tourism of the state gets a direct benefit, then such a film of each category (first, second, third and upcoming film) shall be given an additional subsidy of INR 50.00 lakh, which is to be decided by the Film Facilitation Cell.
Also, on producing a film that has its script based on the state with a view of the state’s special branding, a special grant of 50 percent of the COP of film or INR. 5.00 crore, the policy states.
Apart from the direct financial subsidy, MP also offers a provision of exemption for the film crew staying in hotels and resorts of the tourism department along with additional financial grants for the local artists of the state. For the further development of the film industry in the state, there is a provision for the promotion of private investment and land allocation for setting up film cities, film studios, skill development centres and more, as highlighted in the policy.