Travel Trade Journal
Gujarat committed to the future of Tourism
The state of Gujarat is at the forefront of tourism recovery and has been initiating and inviting major travel associations in India to hold their conventions in the state. Further taking up the cause of travel recovery, IATO has fixed its 36th Annual Convention in Gandhinagar, Gujarat. At a pre-convention IATO member meeting organised at New Delhi, Hareet Shukla, IAS, Secretary - Tourism, Devasthanam Management, Civil Aviation & Pilgrimage, Government of Gujrat, welcomed all members and trade partners to Gujarat for IATO’s Annual Convention and shared the State’s commitment to the future of Tourism.
IATO held its pre-Convention meet at The Park Hotel New Delhi on November 18, 2021, and updated its progress for the Convention. Hareet Shukla was the Chief Guest for the event. Speaking at the occasion Shukla, said that virtual meetings and conferences were clearly not a substitute for the warmth and bonhomie created during oneon-one meetings. The travel industry has experienced almost 18 months of restrictions, quarantine, and distancing norms and is now once again gearing up to the real world of meeting, greeting, and networking. The IATO 36th convention will be one such great opportunity for the industry to meet. He extended a warm welcome to all IATO members and industry partners to Gandhinagar for the convention.
Sharing the tourism roadmap for Gujarat’s future, Shukla said, “Gujarat has always been a progressive, people-driven, industrydriven, and policy-driven state. It lays a lot of stress on green energy and solar energy, being the first state to implement a Solar policy under the leadership of then, Chief Minister, Narendra Modi.”
Gujarat has a very progressive tourism policy in place. This policy is now further being revised to be in tune with the current times. In addition, the state also has formulated policies in place for Heritage Tourism, Adventure Sports Tourism, Homestays, and Cinematic Tourism. Gujarat today receives an almost 40-50 per cent share of the total investment coming into the country, primarily due to its clear policies and ease of doing business. The state’s track record speaks for itself and the delegates visiting Gandhinagar and taking postconvention Familiarisation trips will be able to witness this development first hand.
Reminiscing his earlier days when he was posted in Kutch in 200306, post the great earthquake that devastated the region, Shukla talked about the transformation he was a part of in the region. Having witnessed a stupendous transformation of the Rann Utsav since 2005, where they were reaching out and inviting guests, to 2021, where people are now lining up in droves to see the White Rann.
Tourism has been a transformer and game-changer for the people and economy of the region, welcoming almost five lakh visitors now. The Bhuj Airport is well connected from Delhi, Mumbai and Ahmedabad and very soon, flights from Surat will also be introduced.
Kevadia is the next game-changer destination in Gujarat to have caught national attention and now very prominently features on the domestic tourism circuit, Indians are attracted to the ‘Statue of Unity’; in great numbers and are mesmerised and extremely proud of what they witness at Kevadia. The endeavour is now to put this destination on the global tourism map.
Besides the ‘Rann Utsav’, Gujarat is also promoting the ‘Navratri Utsav’; and the ‘International Kite Festival’. The Beach at Shivrajpur has been awarded the prestigious Blue Flag Beach rating and is now on the radar for sustained development and promotion. Gujarat is also blessed with four world heritage sites and sustained efforts are underway to holistically develop them to attract more visitors.
Further elaborating, he also talked about an additional aspect that Gujrat was now developing,’ Border Tourism ‘, taking inspiration from the daily display of national pride at Wagah, near Amritsar, Gujrat is now developing its own ‘Seema – Darshan’, with infrastructure and displays to surpass the one at Wagah, at its own border post with Pakistan at Nadabet.
Shukla assured all the office bearers and members of IATO present at the meeting that the government of Gujrat stood firm on its commitment to tourism and will leave no stone unturned or effort wanting from its end to ensure the grand success of the 36th IATO Annual Convention, 16-19th December 2021 at Gandhinagar- Gujarat.