Maharashtra concentrates on MICE tourism, new casinos

Maharashtra will be focusing on MICE tourism, with plans to set up a promotion Board specifically for MICE tourism in the state, local media reports.

Speaking at a roundtable organised by the Indian Merchants’ Chamber (IMC) in Mumbai to discuss the future of Mumbai tourism, Valsa Nair Singh, principal secretary, tourism and culture, Government of Maharashtra, said: “We will soon set up a promotion Board for promoting MICE tourism in the state. The Board will be a one-stop-shop for MICE, facilitating permissions for big conferences and events. We are also looking at a system of pre-approved venues for the same and a Single Window System for hospitality.”

Paraag Jaiin Nainuttia, managing director, Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) agreed the new policy will be useful for the state, and added that the MTDC also planned to set up “a few casinos in the state with the required permissions.”

Earlier this month, the Maharashtra Government responded to a PIL filed by a local gaming lawyer to discuss options regarding the buried Maharashtra Casinos Act.

The PIL, filed by Jay Sayta who runs the website Glaws.in, in February was pending a response from the Maharashtra Government.

“The Maharashtra government has issued a letter to me, informing me that a meeting of the secretaries of all relevant departments, Director General of Police, Maharashtra as well as Police Commissioner of Mumbai has been called on 22nd April, 2016 to discuss options to approach the Maharashtra Casinos (Control & Tax) Act, 1976 in pursuance of the High Court order in my PIL and directive of the Chief Minister,”  said Sayta.

“The government has also evinced an interest in studying gaming laws of other jurisdictions before taking a decision and mentioned in the letter that allowing casinos would increase the footfall of foreign tourists and bring in revenues to the exchequer.” he added.

The Act, if notified will allow casinos to operate in the state on the payment of requisite license fees and taxes.