First we need to have basic infrastructure at tourist places
There are very few places in Pune which would attract the tourists. Though there are a few historical places like Shaniwarwada, Parvati or Lal Mahal in the town, these are small compared to places like Thanjavur or Virupaksha temples in Hampi, which are great tourist attractions. There is very less in Pune city to attract national or international tourists. However, if we think about promoting interesting places in greater Pune (entire district), then we can do something. Before even planning to promote Pune as a tourist destination, we need to have basic infrastructure at the tourist places. The city lacks basic amenity like toilets for women, and having these amenities in the tourist places is a far-off expectation. People go to Konkan for the beaches, but what is there in Pune which will attract tourists to come again and again. We have to point out tourist attractions in Pune and develop them so that they become tourist-friendly. We have the Ganpati festival, which can be promoted as a tourist attraction, provided it is managed properly. The one-day Palkhi event can also be of tourist interest, if we bring in some discipline. The summer months and the monsoons are sometimes extreme in Pune, so what we have is limited period between September and February. First, we should define the places which can be of tourist attractions and then have basic infrastructure required for tourists and then start promoting Pune as a tourist destination.
--Mandar Lawate, history researcher, Bharat Itihas Sanshodhak Mandal
Public, private sectors should join hands to promote Pune
Pune has far more potentiality as a tourist destination than what is being done right now. There are great Buddhist sites in Junnar taluka in Pune district, which can be of great tourist interest. Among the Buddhist caves in Karla, Bhaja and Bedse caves situated near Lonavala, the Karla caves have the world's largest Chaitya (prayer hall). I agree that Pune district as a whole is being poorly marketed and there is not much of tourist infrastructure available in the present places of tourist interest. There is still a long way to go before Pune can be promoted as a tourist destination. The public and private sector both should equally join hands if we really want to promote Pune as a tourist destination. Former Union cabinet secretary BG Deshmukh through the MCCIA had attempted to draw an action plan. His comprehensive effort was to preserve Pune's heritage and develop the city as tourist destination, with a public-private partnership. However, the proposal never gathered momentum. Recently, there was an initiative taken at the state and district level to promote Pune as tourist destination and the proposal was also submitted to the MTDC.
--Kiran Kalamdani, architect & conservationist
We need to have a professional and commercial approach
Definitely, a historical place like Pune is being poorly promoted as a tourist destination. First, we need to develop the potential tourist interest places in Pune so the tourist find them interesting. At present, we don't even have basic amenities like toilets at the historical places. The 'Pune Darshan' service is very poorly maintained and hurriedly- managed tour service, with a very limited scope. We are not doing anything to promote Pune, compared to what is being done in neighbouring Mumbai city. Pune has many places of tourist interest and we have to make these places tourist-friendly and sell them as a packaged tour. We need to have a professional and commercial approach.
--Anant Sardeshmukh, Director General, MCCIA
We lack information about tourist options around Pune
People visit the city for business or education purpose and not as a tourist destination. However, when these people come to Pune they get interested in taking a round of the city. Due to lack of information on Pune as a tourist destination, the city has never been able to establish itself as a tourist place. What I have felt during making "Pune and Beyond" travel book is that though PMC, other government agencies and self-help groups are doing a lot for the city, we lack information about tourist options around Pune. For promoting Pune as a major tourist destination in India, we need to provide information about the tourist interest places to the people and develop these spots into tourist-friendly places.
--Seema Sharma, Coordinator, Pune and Beyond (Travel Book)