Sunday, March 1, 2009

Maharastra Tourism introduces Houseboats in Tarkarli

The Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation aims to replicate the factors that lead to rising flow of foreign tourists to neighbouring spots

Noting the continuous and rising flow of foreign tourists to neighbouring Goa, the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) decided to reduce the reasons for it. And the experiment seems to be paying.

It began by investing Rs 1.2 crore in procuring two houseboats, similar to Kerala’s famed kettuvalloms, and had luxury fittings done. Then the corporation had these sail along the creek at Tarkarli, a coastal village in the Konkan belt, 60 km north of Goa. The place has a beautiful sun-kissed beach, quite unspoilt, one reason why it is seeing a rise in tourist traffic in recent years. The houseboats were an instant draw.

The initial success prompted MDTC to add four more. Its general manager, Vijay Chauhan, told Business Standard: "Even in this short while, the daily occupancy is already 60 per cent. On holidays and weekends, these are fully booked. Especially from foreigners visiting Goa; they stop here for a day or two.

"We plan now to deploy two more boats at Tarkarli itself; there is enough demand. And two similar houseboats in the Aronda creek between Tarkarli and Goa," Chavan added. The houseboats have two bedrooms each, with the same facilities as in a three-star hotel. Tourists are served with local Malvani cuisine and a lot of other items to make their stay delectable.

It isn’t in the middle of nowhere. Malvan town is about five km away, as is the famed Sindhudurg fort built by Shivaji on an island away from the coast. But nature, as in Goa, is still the prime draw. "After Kerala, Konkan is going to be India's tourism hub and we are planning to introduce more houseboats along various popular beaches along this coast," adds an upbeat Chavan.

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