Mumbai, June 28 IANS | 5 months ago

The Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) opened its first international office in Tokyo to lure tourists from Japan and other neighbouring countries, officials said here Saturday.

Maharashtra Cultural Affairs Minister Sanjay Deotale inaugurated the Tokyo office in the presence of MTDC Managing Director Jagdish Patil and other senior officials at the Wakayama Prefecture (state's) Wakayama Tourism Federation (WTF).

The move follows a series of delegation visits by both MTDC and Wakayama Prefecture and a MoU signed last year in Mumbai as part of efforts to strengthen tourism and business opportunities in Maharashtra for Japan.

In a reciprocal arrangement, the WTF is expected to open an office in Aurangabad, the gateway to the world renowned Ajanta and Ellora Buddhist caves complexes.

Other areas of co-operation between MTDC and WTF include financial assistance from Japan International Cooperation Agency for the Phase-III development of Ajanta-Ellora Caves complexes and an agreement between Ajanta Visitor Centre and Wakayama World Heritage Centre to boost bilateral tourism and conserve these heritage sites.

The MTDC will also help set up a statue of Bharat Ratna B.R. Ambedkar at Koyasan which attracts the highest number of tourists.

Ambedkar is considered the Father of the Indian Constitution and had converted to Buddhism later in life.

Earlier this week, Maharashtra announced the launch of a Buddhist Circuit tour aimed at attracting tourists from many countries of the Far East which have a large number of followers of Buddhism.

(Posted on 28-06-2014)

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