The Maharashtra Tourism delegation, led by Mr. Girish Mahajan, Hon’ble Minister for Tourism, Maharashtra, Mrs. Radhika Rastogi, IAS Principal Secretary Tourism, Govt. of Maharashtra, and Dr. B.N. Patil, IAS Director, Directorate of Tourism, Govt. of Maharashtra, embarked on a successful journey to Japan, fostering cultural exchange and strengthening tourism ties between Maharashtra and Japan. The delegation participated in the India Mela at Kobe, followed by impactful meetings and road shows across Shirahama, Okayama and Osaka from October 7th to 11th October, 2023.
The Maharashtra Tourism delegation actively engaged in the India Mela at Kobe, organized by the Indian Consulate in Osaka-Kobe, Japan, from 7th to 9th October, 2023. Maharashtra Tourism Delegation interacted with the Indian Consulate in Kobe and met with Mr. Nikhilesh Giri, Consule General of India at Osaka-Kobe. The state showcased its rich heritage and culture through a booth space.
A cultural troupe from Maharashtra mesmerized the audience with Lavani, Kohli dance, regional drama and folk performances. The consumer-driven event attracted over 3,000 Japanese visitors, creating widespread interest in Maharashtra as a prime tourism destination. The dissemination of promotional material further fueled curiosity, with many visitors expressing their intent to visit Maharashtra soon.
On 9th October, 2023, a strategic discussion was held in Shirahama, where the Maharashtra Tourism delegation engaged with Mr. Taniguchi, Vice President of Wakayama wrestling association and local MLA of Shirahama. Discussions centered around exploring the exchange of wrestlers between Wakayama and Maharashtra, aiming to boost Sports Tourism in the state.
On the same day, the delegation visited Adventure World in Shirahama, engaging in a significant meeting with Mr. Takahama, Chief Manager of Adventure World. Adventure World houses various kinds of rare animals and features a plethora of tours and attractions. The primary objective was to gain insights into the operational model of the park with the potential of developing similar theme parks in Maharashtra. The meeting which was also attended by Mr. Sudhir Mungantiwar, Hon’ble Minister for Forests, Cultural Affairs and Fisheries, Government of Maharashtra marked a crucial step in enhancing the tourism landscape in Maharashtra.
On the 10th of October 2023, there was a tactical meeting between Mr. Kishimoto Shuhei, Governor of Wakayama Prefecture, and the Maharashtra Tourism delegation. Discussions centered around the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) previously signed between Maharashtra and Wakayama to foster tourism promotion and exchange. This strategic partnership aims to strengthen cultural, tourism, and economic ties between the two regions, offering exciting opportunities for mutual growth.
This was followed by a meeting with Mr. Omori, the Mayor of Okayama city. At this meeting, the Maharashtra Tourism Delegation extended a warm invitation to Mr. Omori, for the forthcoming Mumbai Festival in January 2024. Mr. Ohmori graciously accepted the invitation, and conveyed his sincere intent to attend the festival, underscoring the growing goodwill and collaboration between Okayama City and Maharashtra.
Next, The Maharashtra Tourism delegation had the privilege of engaging with the esteemed Councillors of Okayama City. The delegation extended an invitation to the Councillors to visit and experience the Mumbai Festival scheduled in January 2024. They expressed interest in sending a delegation comprising approximately 30 Councillors of Okayama City, alongside Economic Mission delegates to attend the Mumbai Festival.
This collective enthusiasm underlines the growing bond between Okayama City and Maharashtra, fostering cultural exchange and international friendship. Furthermore, the Councillors expressed a keen interest in private investments within the tourism sector, signifying their desire to explore new avenues of economic collaboration. The occasion also witnessed a warm welcome by the President of the Okayama India Friendship Association, Mr. Moriyama, who was keen to strengthen diplomatic ties.
Media interviews were conducted at Okayama with Mr. Girish Mahajan, Hon’ble Minister for Tourism, Maharashtra. These interviews spanned both print and electronic platforms, providing a formal avenue for the Minister to articulate the tourist attractions and investment opportunities in Maharashtra.
These meetings were followed by a welcome dinner hosted by Mr. Matsuda and Mr. Mori of the Okayama Chamber of Commerce.
On 11th October, 2023, a significant Road Show unfolded in Okayama, bringing together Chamber of Commerce members, industrialists, and tourist companies. Mr. Girish Mahajan, Hon’ble Minister for Tourism, Maharashtra delivered an engaging address, followed by insightful presentations from Dr. B.N. Patil, IAS Director, Directorate of Tourism, Govt. of Maharashtra and Mrs. Radhika Rastogi, IAS Principal Secretary Tourism, Govt. of Maharashtra. Discussions revolved around Maharashtra’s diverse and captivating tourism prospects, fostering stronger connections and exploring collaborations between Okayama and Maharashtra.
Following this, Mr. Girish Mahajan, Hon’ble Minister for Tourism, Maharashtra, emphasized the government’s dedication to promoting tourism and encouraging collaborations with local businesses. An interactive quiz, hosted by Mrs. Radhika Rastogi, IAS Principal Secretary Tourism, Govt. of Maharashtra, tested the audience’s knowledge of Maharashtra’s culture and landmarks. This not only educated but also engaged the attendees. Subsequently, B2B interactions offered a platform for participants to explore potential partnerships and discuss tour packages.
The evening concluded with a delectable dinner featuring some dishes representative of Maharashtrian cuisine. This event not only informed but also fostered connections, promoting tourism and cultural exchange between Japan and Maharashtra.
This comprehensive journey stands as a pivotal moment in enhancing diplomatic, cultural, and economic ties between Maharashtra and Japan. The Maharashtra Tourism delegation looks forward to building upon these foundations and ushering in a new era of collaboration and friendship to drive tourist traction and investments to Maharashtra.