Medium caravans have been paying Rs 5,500 per square metre tax to the state government annually
In a bid to promote caravan tourism, the Maharashtra Government has made caravans used for tourism service tax free. The Transport department has decided to do away with the tax imposed under Maharashtra Motor Vehicles Tax Act on all caravans or camper vans that have been registered as tourism entities with Directorate of Tourism (DoT). The government says caravan tourism has immense potential in Maharashtra and this measure will make it more lucrative to tour operators in the state.
The government had unveiled the new Caravan Tourism policy in March last year but the decision on exempting caravans and campervans was still to be officially cleared. In July last year, the Vehicle Transport Department of Maharashtra government amended the rules to exempt caravans or camper vans from taxes imposed on them if they are registered under the new policy.
Last week, on the occasion of National Tourism Day, stakeholders who have contributed to the promotion of adventure tourism and caravan tourism in the state were felicitated by Tourism and Environment Minister Aaditya Thackeray and Minister of State for Tourism, Aditi Tatkare.
The caravans were flagged off in September 2020. "Flagged off MTDC and Motohom's caravan vehicles for those who love their holidays in the outdoors and independently. Inviting those who want to spend their "me time" in the wilderness, exploring the beauty of Maharashtra, Aditya Thackeray had tweeted at the time.
Medium caravans or camper vans have been paying Rs 5,500 per square metre tax to the state government annually. The tax amount for bigger vans used to be around Rs 1.4 lakh. The Tourism department says this move will boost tourism in the post-Covid era and will benefit all the caravan and camper van operators who have registered themselves.
Speaking on the move, Jt. Director, Directorate of Tourism, Dr Dhananjay Sawalkar, said, "Tax exemption for caravan comes as a big step to support the operators. This will change the course of travel in Maharashtra and help in establishing Caravan ecosystem in the State. I'd like to urge the operators to come forward, register themselves to reap the benefits of the policy."
Motohom Caravan was the first caravan to register under Maharashtra's caravan tourism policy. On National Tourism Day this year, Motohom caravan was flagged off by Tourism Minister Aditya Thackeray and Minister for State Aditi Tatkare, at Sahyadri guest house, Mumbai.