Matters concerned with Environment

Friday, September 24, 2010

MTDC turns to marine tourism to up profits. Corals

MTDC turns to marine tourism to up profits
30 April 2009, TOI, Chitra Nair

          Pune: Adventure lovers have a new destination: Sindhudurg. For those planning a visit to the Konkan coast can now look forward to some scuba diving activity. The Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) has initiated a scuba diving project on the Konkan coast under its coastal and marine tourism programme.
          Manager of adventure sports, MTDC, Subodh Kinalekar says, “The snorkeling activity started in 2007 has generated tremendous response with almost 40,000 to 50,000 tourists so far. We have earned approximately Rs. 20 lakh so far. The next step is to start scuba diving by October this year,” he says. Besides, the MTDC also plans to explore the rich marine life of Konkan coast by initiating marine tourism project that will create awareness about nature conservation. “The Sindhudurg fort is surrounded by some old coral reefs that are approximately 400-500 years old. The area also has beautiful sargassum forest,” said Sarang Kulkarni, a marine biologist, who has been appointed by the MTDC as an advisor for the project. Most of these corals are in shallow water and so doing not need advanced training or equipment. “There is no need to travel abroad when you get to snorkel and see some beautiful underwater sites so close to Mumbai that too at reasonable rates. We have trained local people as snorkeling guides and we can proudly say they are amongst the best in the country,” says Kulkarni who adds that the project is also generating employment for the local people.
          The MTDC is also exploring new ideas in terms of marine tourism including whale watch, sports fishing and also a sea world. “Sports fishing is for those who want to catch fish and eat it too. The advantage is that people will catch only as many fish as they need,” adds Kulkarni.Other projects include a beach rescue project and a turtle interpretation centre.  

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