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.

TravTalk - India - - News - DE­VIKA JEET

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.

Vipul Mit­tra

Prin­ci­pal Sec­re­tary Tourism Gov­ern­ment of Gu­jarat

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