Madhya Pradesh, India’s second largest state, is arguably the best place in the entire world to see a wild tiger. In some places, like Bandavgarh NP in the state’s east, you’re almost given a guarantee that you’ll spot a tiger or two.
But the state commonly referred to as “The Heart of India” for its location at the geographic centre of the country, boasts an abundance of other wildlife too, including leopards, bears, gaur, a wide range of deer, countless species of exotic bird, and plenty more.
It is little wonder then that MP hopes to lure international visitors to its vast, and at times, breathtaking landscape on the back of its fauna.
Speaking at the recent, inaugural Madhya Pradesh Travel Mart (MPTM), MP chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said the region needed to learn from South Africa, where he had just visited, and aim to be even better than its African counterpart.
With one third of MP’s geographical area covered by forest, and wildlife tourism accounting for around 50 percent of all tourism to the state, it isn’t inconceivable the region grow in stature amongst safari and wildlife destinations.
But the state freely admits that it has a lot of work to improve overall tourism infrastructure.
Secretary to the Madhya Pradesh chief minister’s office, Hari Ranjan Rao, told MPTM delegates that despite its diverse tourism offering, as far as hotel rooms, and tourism products and projects were concerned, the state still had "a long way to go".
Good news, however, was MP’s recently passed tourism policy, which Mr Rao described as being the most progressive in India.
Among its features was an order to offer a subsidized rate to anyone who wants to put up a tourism project in MP, as well as an aggressive plan to promote the state’s heritage and budget hotels, and its meetings venues.
Held in the MP city of Bhopal, MPTM showcased the best wildlife, heritage and cultural tourism offerings the Madhya Pradesh has to offer.
Over 100 international buyers, including delegates from newly targeted markets Australia, South Africa, the Middle East, and parts of Europe were present at the event.
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