Gujarat: Industry status for tourism
Gujarat entered the new year with roadshows across the country. The state will have a new tourism policy, seaplanes and greater infrastructure development in 2013.
There are three basic parameters, infrastructure, promotion and policy and we chose to target all three together
Gujarat Tourism reiterates its promise to the tourism industry by conducting presentations in New Delhi, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Chennai and Mumbai, at the beginning of the year. These industry interactions included a highlight of what the state has planned for the future.
“We have seen an increase in tourist arrivals and numbers have increased to around one crore in the last five to six years. In the last two years, we have seen an increase of around 50 lakh tourists,” says Vipul Mittra, Principal Secretary, Tourism, Civil Aviation, Pilgrimage and Devasthan (Industries and Mines Department) Government of Gujarat.
Discussing the success of tourism in Gujarat, Mittra adds, “There are three basic parameters, infrastructure, promotion and policy and we chose to target all three together. The stability of the government and their longterm vision has helped develop tourism.”
Tourism, as an industry, has immense potential which the state is tapping to add to already flourishing economy of the state. With the same perspective, the Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Limited and Infrastructure Leasing and Finance Services Limited formed a joint venture company named Gujarat Tourism Opportunity Limited (GujTop) to augment the tourism industry in the state. This company aims at helping infrastructure development. “They help facilitate investments in tourism projects and take it through the government system. We want to act as a facilitator and provide the private sector the opportunity to invest. We will continue to provide the common infrastructure but we believe that private sector has the possibility of profit and should be encouraged,” adds Mittra.
“This year, we hope for a good allocation in the budget for tourism development. The planning commission has allocated 1,500 crore for devel- oping costal tourism and beach tourism and we are working on this. Our tourism policy is being upgraded this year and we want to concentrate on treating tourism as an industry. This will help provide tax incentives and easy clearances. We also want to concentrate on the knowledge sector, skill building and training; we want to start courses for the local population that they can benefit from the growth of tourism,” emphasises Mittra.
Gujarat’s journey to develop tourism began in 2006 and ever since, the state has seen an unprecedented growth. “With the highest number of airports and 65,000 hotel rooms, Gujarat is creating and capitalising on its tourism infrastructure. By 2017, the state plans to have 1.25 lakh hotel rooms,” says Kingshuk Biswas, Manager (Marketing & Investment), Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Limited.
Biswas further adds, “Gujarat is a family destination and festivals such as Rann Utsav, Kite Festival and the global bird watchers’ conference help showcase that vibrant is Gujarat.”
The campaign with Amitabh Bachchan has been the turning point for Gujarat Tourism in the last two years. The state concentrated on the top ten tourist attractions and marketed specific destinations in the campaign.
Developing airport infrastructure, the state government reduced ADF from 26 per cent to four per cent to encourage the industry. Intra-state flights have been introduced by Deccan Aviation. Seaplanes will also be introduced this year in the coastal areas of the state.
Principal Secretary Tourism Government of Gujarat