Tourists from Mumbai and Pune are playing a major role in the revival of wine tourism in Nashik. The state government started easing the Covid-related restrictions in June and this sector has since been registering good footfall. More importantly, business is on the upswing.
As per the data shared by the All-India Wine Producers’ Association, while 9,000 tourists had visited the vineyards in June, the number doubled to over 18,000 by July. So far in August, more than 12,000 tourists have already visited the vineyards.
“More than 50% of the tourists at the different wineries in Nashik are from Mumbai and Pune. Gujarat-based tourists constitute another 5% of visitors. Others are from our region,” said Jagdish Holkar, the association’s president.
Monit Dhavale, the senior vice-president (hospitality) at Sula Vineyards, said wine tourism in Nashik is fast picking up as people are looking to unwind given that the pandemic has ebbed in Nashik and the state government has eased the strict curbs. According to Dhavale, the occupancy at his company’s 61-room resort has increased from 40% in June to over 90% since July.
Wine tourism involves visits to various wineries in Nashik, some of which are located near the backwaters of the sprawling Gangapur dam. Most tourists come for weekend stays at the swanky resorts attached to the wineries.
Association members said there are multiple reasons for the rise in the number of visitors to the wineries. They pointed out that the state government has done away with e-passes for intra-district travel. Also, there is no need to produce Covid test reports for travel within the state. “Nashik is easily accessible from Mumbai and Pune by road. The serene ambiance at the wineries is just right for people to unwind with their families,” said Holkar.
Holkar said monthly pre-Covid revenue generation from wine tourism in Nashik was around Rs 8 crore. “Currently, the sector is making around Rs 4.5-5 crore a month. If the trend continues, revenue generation would reach the pre-Covid level soon,” he said. According to Pradeep Pachpatil, the chairman of Nashik-based Soma Wines, the room occupancy at his 48-room winery is almost 100% on weekends and over 75% on weekdays.
Arpita Kulkarni, a tourist from Mumbai, said that she recently got married but could not get out of the city due to the pandemic. “As soon as the restrictions were eased, we decided to visit a Nashik-based winery and stay over the weekend. Staying at a resort near the Gangapur dam backwater was an exciting experience. Even the weather is pleasant,” she said.
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