Airport expansion can boost tourism in Aurangabad: Experts

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Aurangabad, Jun 20 (PTI) The tourism potential of Aurangabad, which is known for the world famous Ajanta and Ellora caves and other monuments, can be developed on a bigger canvas if the airport here is expanded to allow international flights, industry stakeholders have said.

A separate authority is also needed to work for the development of tourism here in Maharashtra, they said during a programme held on Saturday.

Historical monuments under the jurisdiction of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) reopened a few days back after around two months as the state government eased the coronavirus-induced restrictions.

Sunit Kothari, member of the Aurangabad Tourism Development Foundation's (ATDF) aviation committee, sought the expansion of the city airport and nod for international flights to land here for boosting the tourism industry.

This will help to grow the overall economy of Aurangabad and neighbouring districts in the Marathwada region, he said.

The Maharashtra government also needs to reduce the Value Added Tax (VAT) on aviation turbine fuel to attract more flights, he opined.

He also said that the birth place of Sant Dnyaneshwar, a bird sanctuary located in Jayakwadi, and a wildlife sanctuary in Gautala area here also need to be promoted among visitors.

The ASI's Aurangabad circle superintendent, Milan Kumar Chauley, said encroachments around various monuments here should be removed.

Officials deployed for tourism development should be from the tourism background, he said.

Local Shiv Sena MLC Ambadas Danve said Aurangabad needs a separate authority to work in a dedicated manner for tourism development.

'If a proposal for setting up a tourism conclave comes up, I will pursue it with the state government,' he said.

'This area has a connection with 'Ramayana' and we have places linked to that period. There are small monuments which we also need to showcase them to make tourists stay here longer,' he added. PTI AW GK GK

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