Vengurla beach in Maharashtra |
Vengurla beach in Maharashtra |

New Delhi: The Aaditya Thackeray-led Maharashtra tourism department is planning to launch its own television show on the lines of Travel and Living to promote tourism and the local cuisine as the state surfaces from being one of the worst affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The show, which will centre on the specific culture of the six regions of Maharashtra, will have 12 episodes — two each on Konkan, Western Maharashtra, Marathwada, Khandesh, East Vidarbha and West Vidarbha.

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“We will tie up with a few television channels to show the series. We will also request all our partners and stakeholders such as Airbnb or Oyo to show the series on their websites,” Valsa Nair Singh, principal secretary of the state tourism department, said.

“We want the films to be released in the next two months. This is the weather to catch tourists and there are many who are looking at attractive domestic destinations instead of international ones because of Covid.”

With a total of 18,99,352 Covid positive cases and 48,801 cases until now, Maharashtra took the brunt of the Covid pandemic in the country. However, the number of new cases in the state has been on the decline. On Monday, 2,834 Covid-positive cases were recorded, taking the state’s total active case count to 59,469.

Also read: How Aaditya Thackeray’s using Covid downtime to prep Maharashtra as post-pandemic tourist hub

All about the food

The state government wants to make the different Maharashtrian fare the central focus of the television show, which it has titled Flavours of Maharashtra.

To this end, it is looking to hire either a professional anchor, a food critic or a food blogger or influencer as the host of its show.

“Maharashtra serves a huge platter of lip-smacking food catering to the likes of various savoury and sweet taste buds such as Vada Pav, Misal Pav, Kolhapur cuisine, Malvani cuisine, Varhadi Cuisine, Khandheshi Cuisine, Chulivarcha Mutton, etc. This gives the immense opportunity for ‘Flavors of Maharashtra’ tourism in the State and the Directorate of Tourism will like to explore this untapped business potential,” the department’s concept note on the project states.

An official who did not wish to be named said the idea for the show, in fact, came from a casual remark by Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on the Malvani cuisine.

“We had a review meeting on Sindhudurg tourism in Sindhudurg in February. He casually said Malvani cuisine is so delicious, and that we should do something about it. Over the next three to four months, we finalised the concept of a travel show focusing on food,” the official said.

The show intends to predominantly focus on home chefs from across the six regions to promote local fare.

Also read: How Covid worsened hunger in India, the world’s largest food basket

Trekking hills, spotting dolphins, panaromic views from forts

The state tourism department has invited bids to rope in a production company to make the TV series and be in charge of all activities related to it, right from finding a director, videographer and editing the show to and even finding a co-sponsor and host for the same.

Like in a quintessential travel feature, this show too will have a host who will be shown travelling to interesting destinations, sampling local cuisine, taking in the sights and so on.

The show’s concept note reads: “Each episode is divided in different segments where the host will relish Maharashtrian thali, visits local markets, explores orchards, learns to cook different dishes and also, goes dolphin spotting, treks a hill, soaks in panoramic views from the forts and discovers history and culture of Maharashtra through tourist hotspots.”

Every episode will be 30-45 minutes long and will also feature a local celebrity or an influencer from the region familiar with the area’s culture and cuisine.

The department plans to heavily tap YouTube and Instagram among other social media platforms for the promotion of the show, with at least 50 short promotional videos about 30 seconds to two minutes long.

Also read: Tourists and residents missing, Mumbai’s iconic landmarks have only pigeons for visitors


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