Pune: Travel and hotel associations in the city claim that the number of tourists visiting Pune has been increasing during Diwali as compared to the rest of the year. However, the city doesn't have a proper infrastructure needed to be a sought-after tourist destination in spite of having a good potential.
“Pune is not a very conventional tourist destination. However, during Diwali, numerous cultural activities, lit-up city landscapes, pleasant weather and celebrations in different parts of the city attract many from across the State to Pune,” Vaishali Chavan, Regional Manager, Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) said.
Speaking about the increasing number of tourists, Prapti Deshpande of Poona Hotels Association said, “A week before Diwali is a major hit among tourists visiting Pune. The school holidays start by this time. Many from the neighbouring districts prefer to come here for Diwali shopping. Hotel bookings in the city are already overflowing with tourists, which continue till the end of Diwali vacations. Also, many people stay in Pune and then go site-seeing at the nearby destinations like Lonavla, Ashtavinayak, Shirdi, Mulshi, etc.”
Shaniwarwada Deepotsav (Festival of Lights), Diwali Pahat at Sarasbaug are some of the attractions that bring tourists to Pune during Diwali.
Nilesh Bhansali, Director, Travel Agents Association of Pune (TAAP), said although Pune has a huge potential to be a tourist destination, it doesn't have the infrastructural facilities needed for the same. “We don't have efficient guides, who will take tourists around the city or even around a particular monument like Shaniwarwada. Guides do a great job of attracting tourists in many other cities of India. The public transport system in the city is another put-off for tourists. We have so many places that could be the points of interest for tourists, including museums, heritage buildings, hills and shopping markets. However, it is not promoted properly.”
According to Deshpande, the Christmas vacation is another time of the year when the tourist footfall in the city increases.