The Aurangabad Tourism Development Foundation (ATDA) has asked tourism minister Aditya Thackeray to ensure that monuments in and around Aurangabad are thrown open to the public with full Covid-19 safety, hygiene standards, and social distancing precautions.
In a representation made to the minister, Sunit Kothari, an entrepreneur and the chairman of the public relations and civil aviation committee, said that Aurangabad is considered the tourism capital of the state. It has world heritage sites, including, Ajanta, Ellora as well as monuments like Bibi-Ka-Maqbara, Daulatabad Fort, and 50,000-year-old Lonar Crater, in its vicinity. The Lonar Crater is the biggest crater of its kind in the basaltic rock regions. According to Kothari, tourism supports many livelihoods — both directly and indirectly besides staff working hotels, restaurants, cars, and coach rental companies, tour operates, guides, and travel agents, to name a few.
He said that tourism industry stakeholders in Aurangabad were fully willing to follow the government’s Covid-19 guidelines on re-opening of monuments. Kothari told the minister that Agra has already reopened, and so have most of the monuments in the country. Therefore, the ones in Aurangabad can open too. Kothari said that tourism is the only sector which needs immediate attention of the state government in its unlocking efforts.