Exploring Gujarat through its festivals

Gujarat has chosen an interesting way to showcase its various tourist destinations – through its colourful and exciting festivals. Jenu Devan, Managing Director and Commissioner of Tourism, Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Limited, shares more details in an exclusive interview with TravTalk.

HAZEL JAIN

Q How is the inbound traffic for Gujarat?

The gross flow of tourists during 2016-17 was 448 lakhs. It was 16.9 per cent higher than 2015-16. The flow of tourists within Gujarat also increased with a 15 per cent growth. During this period, the NRI and foreigner tourist flow to our state boomed with 22.6 per cent and 31 per cent growth, respectively compared to the previous year. A total number of 9.24 lakhs foreigners/NRIs visited the state during the year which accounted for 2.1 per cent of the total flow. Out of this, NRIs were 5.19 lakhs, while foreigners were 4.05 lakhs. The growth story of Gujarat Tourism began from 2006 onward and hence, there is tremendous scope for tapping the potential of inbound tourism.

Q How are you promoting yourself abroad?

Gujarat Tourism for the past few years has been regularly participating in mega tourism fairs of WTM London and ITB Berlin and we plan to participate in these shows this financial year too. We reach out to the inbound/domestic agents essentially during two of our mega festivals – Navratri in September/October and the Rann Utsav in December/January through Fam trips. Inbound traffic sees its peak in Gujarat between September and February.

Q How big is your domestic market?

About 72.3 per cent of the total flow of tourists this year originated from within Gujarat. The share of other states was 25.6 per cent. In the current year, 114.76 lakh tourists from other states visited Gujarat. Maharashtra continues to top the list (37.2 per cent of other states), followed by Rajasthan (19.4 per cent), Madhya Pradesh (15.6 per cent), and Uttar Pradesh/ Bihar (12.9 per cent). Business purpose tops the list followed by religion. Leisure and other purposes follow next.

Q What are your source markets?

We see the entire India as our source market. However, we get maximum traffic from our neighbouring states of Maharashtra, MP and Rajasthan. Internationally, UK tops the list followed by USA. We would like to receive more traffic from the South East Asian markets as they are short-haul destinations for India.

Q What products are you promoting in the market currently?

Currently, we are promoting our various destinations through festivals of Navratri, followed by Rann Utsav and International Kite Festival. We have recently started Seema Darshan, which is another great example of Border Tourism in India. Infrastructure provided at the site includes audio-visual room, retreat ceremony area, amphitheatre, VIP lounge, food stalls, public toilets, selfie zone and viewing tower. Special attractions include retreat ceremony by the Border Security Forces (BSF), fusion band performance, camel show and bird watching, exhibition of weapons, photo gallery and a film on BSF.

The state’s Tourism Policy 2015-20 has become a tremendous success. Till date there are 220 applications for various tourism projects like hotels, resorts, amusement parks, etc worth `9,000 crore. So in the next few years, Gujarat is poised to have a fantastic tourism infrastructure for both the inbound and domestic tourists.

Reaching Out

We reach out to the inbound/ domestic agents essentially during two of our mega festivals- Navratri and Rann Utsav

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