With the flow of INR13 billion (US$195 million) of public and private money pumping through its veins, the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh has created a land bank to drive tourism in the region.
The newly reorganised Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board (MP Tourism) has acquired over 849 hectares of land from 49 of its districts which will be devoted to regional tourism projects.
A further 71 sites, with an extra 432 hectares of land, have also been identified and will be added to the bank once the land procurement process is concluded. Sixty hectares have already been allotted to 16 private investors, which has generated a premium of US$7.5 million.
Describing the land bank, minister of state for tourism Surendra Patwa explained: “the [Madhya Pradesh] state has been segregated into five tourism regions where potential for private investment has been identified.”
These regions are as follows:
Indore, including: Indore, Dhar, Khanwa, Burhanpur, Khargone, Badwani, Alirajpur, Jhabua, Ujjain, Ratlam, Dewas, Agra Malwa, Mandsaur and Neemuch;
Jabalpur, including: Katni, Narsinghpur, Chhindwara, Seoni, Mandla, Balaghat, Dindori, Shahdol, Umaria and Anuppur;
Bhopal, including: Bhopal, Sihore, Rajgarh, Vidisha, Raisen, Hoshangabad, Betul, Harda have transferred 135 hectares.
Gwalior, including: Gwalior, Guna, Shivpuri, Ashok Nagar, Sheopur, Morena, Bhind and Teekamgarh;
Rewa, including: Rewa, Sidhi, Satna, Singrauli, Sagar, Chhatarpur, Panna and Damoh.
Madhya Pradesh is well known for the natural beauty of its mountain ranges, forests and rivers, plus an enviable collection of wildlife including antelope, bison and tigers. The state has also carved out a reputation for the depth of its spiritual and cultural pursuits with a grand heritage of warriors, poets and artists, as well as three UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Khajuraho Group Monuments (main picture), the Sanchi monument and the Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka.
The central Indian state is already very popular with travellers and recent years has seen the state’s GDP surpass that of the national average, which in turn surpasses that of the global average (with tourism forecast to increase by 11-11.5% in the next two years). This makes the state a natural starting point for those looking to take advantage of the unprecedented growth and invest in Indian tourism.