With an aim to attract foreign tourists, Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) has decided to start a luxury bus service to Konkan from Mumbai and Pune. MTDC has purchased five such Volvo buses which have facilities like chemical toilets, fridge, oven, Wi-Fi at a cost of Rs. 5.48 crore. The tourists packages will be for three or five days. Private operations will be roped in for conducting the tours and an MoU will be signed between MTDC and the operator. Competitive bids have been invited and MTDC hopes that the bus service will start commercial operations in the first week of January, said sources in the tourism Departments.
The sightseeing packages will include all tourism sites on Mumbai-Sindhudurg and Pune-Sindhudurg routes. From Mumbai, the bus will halt at Raigad, Harihareshwar, Chiplun, Ganpati Pule, Pawas, Ratnagiri, Kunkeshwar, Tarkarli, Malwan, Sawantwadi and then return to Mumbai. Similarly, the Pune route will cover Kolhapur, Sawantwadi, Tarkarli, Malwan, Kunkeshwar, Ganpati Pule, Pawas and Ratnagiri. The bus will again come to Ganpati Pule, proceed to Pawan Khind, Panhala Fort, Jyotiba Mandir and return to Pune.
Ticket fares will be fixed after competitive bids are finalised, sources informed. The tourist package will cover temples, beaches in the Konkan region. Every year approximately 14 lackh foreign tourists arrive in Mumbai and then proceed to different parts of the country.