Travel tales

Interaction with Mr Jenu Devan,MD, Gujarat Tourism

The interaction was published in Travel n Hospitality and is reproduced here for a better read.

What kind of unique travel experiences  Gujarat offers?

The State of Gujarat, rightly called Jewel in the West, has been attracting tourists for a quite long for Wildlife getaway in Gir, a relaxed sun and sand holidays on its natural beaches, a fabulously enriching sightseeing experience at the 863 Jain temple cluster at Shetrunjaya Hills, Enchanting Saputara Hills, a Pure Pilgrimage to its famous sacred Temples at Dwarka, Somnath, Dakor, Pavagadh, Ambaji, a royal holidays to its leisurely and luxurious heritage hotels, Indus Valley sites of Lothal and Dholavira, World’s 3rd largest dinosaur fossil park & India’s 1stdedicated dinosaur museum, White Desert-Kutch, World’s Tallest Statue: Statue of Unity, colorful fairs and festivals and its vibrant and rich culture.

What are new/ upcoming plans of Gujarat Tourism?

To promote the tourism in Gujarat to its full potential, the Gujarat Government has announced a new tourism policy for 2015-2020 with focus on making the State one among the top five tourist destination states in India by 2025. Apart from being an effective facilitator, the State Government shall be leading from the front in matters like Destination Development, Promotion of Fairs and Festivals, Publicity Campaigns, IT Initiatives, Market Research, Exhibition and Seminars, Skill Development etc.

State has been promoting festivals as tourist attractions. How successful have been these initiatives in attracting tourists?

Gujarat Tourism has been taking several efforts to ensure that the state of Gujarat as well as India in general have a seminal place on the world tourist map. This year, a massive amount of foreigners visited Gujarat.

From  2005 it began as a three-day festival and progressively evolved into a 100-day celebration at Dhordo, a village near Rann of Kutch where a whole new tent city has been created, replete with temporary infrastructure built and rebuilt every year.  Since its inception, the Rann Utsav booking has multiplied exponentially, attracting over 5,00,000 visitors from 20+ countries.

How many inbound tourists are you receiving? What is growth percentage? What are new steps to promote tourism in overseas markets?

The tourist inflow has increased from 448 lakh in 2016-17 to 579.91 lakh in 2018-19. Approximately 151.45 lakh tourists from other Indian States made visit to Gujarat.

TCGL (Tourism Corporation og Gujarat Ltd.) has been at the forefront to provide the best of facilities to tourists with accommodation and infrastructure in Heritage Hotels, Home stays and the state-owned Toran Hotels.

How far has Statue of Unity helped the state in promoting tourism?

In just over a year of its unveiling, the Statue of Unity has surpassed the footfall at the 133-year-old Statue of Liberty in the US, with an average of over 15,000 tourists visiting the monument in Gujarat daily.

“With 74 per cent increase over the daily average of the first year, that is, November 1, 2018 to October 31, 2019, daily average of 15,036 is now registered in the first month of this second year.

“This has further increased to 22,430 on weekend days. The Statue of Liberty of New York, United States, attracts around 10,000 visitors a day

What are your plans for sustainable tourism?
Rann Utsav is the shining example for sustainable tourism.

Apart from setting up paved road network, new hotels, public transport and other amenities are being developed at rapid speed to give vertical rise to the tourism development in the region.

90% children of the region are literate. And banking facilities are available in 100 % villages of the region

In short, the state government has left no stone unturned in ensuring that the tourism in Kutch becomes the brightest start in the tourism-sky. The journey of Rann Utsav had started as a two-day event in year 2005, but, now it  has come a festival that last more than two months period.

Domestic and international tourism strengthen national integration and provides socio-economic development in Gujarat as well as in the country.

On historical tourism,

The land of princely states and maharajas has to offer culturally and historically places such as Rani Ki Vav at Patan – this historical site has been declared as the World Heritage Site by the UNESCO, Laxmi Vilas Palace in Vadodara, more than 4500 years old Indus Valley civilization at Dholavira, Vijay  Vilas Palace at Mandvi, Kutch, and many more. On other hand, the state is housing India’s freedom struggle witnesses’ places such as Sabarmati Ashram and Kochrab Ashram in Ahmedabad from where Gandhiji mainly formulated strategy and planning for freedom of India from mighty British Regime. In addition to these, Gujarat has attractions like Dandi Pool (Bridge) and Dandi March, Salt Satyagraha that was launched by Gandhiji as non-violent civil disobedience act  against mighty British Regime at Dandi near Navsari, Kirti Mandir in Porbandar – an ancestral house of Gandhi family, where Mahatma Gandhi was born on 2 October 1869.

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