Gujarat Tourism has undertaken projects to enhance its heritage and cultural resources. With new circuits like Dandi Heritage Circuit, Buddhist Circuit and initiatives like border tourism underway, the state is striving hard to become the most favourable tourist destination in the country.
In the year 2017, Gujarat received 4.5 crore tourists, registering a growth of 17 per cent over the previous year, according to figures shared by the Ministry of Tourism. Out of the total number of tourists, 98 per cent were domestic while two per cent were international, informs Jenu Deven, Managing Director, Gujarat Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC) and Commissioner of Tourism, Government of Gujarat.
Deven points out that the state tourism department has made investments in almost every sector to offer world-class tourism infrastructure, upgrade existing facilities and enhance the visitor experience. The major source markets for the state are the US, UK and Canada and the state is also targeting the source markets from where tourists are visiting other states in India.
“The state tourism department has been making investments to the tune of `200-250 crore per year for tourism. We are focusing on heritage and culture of the state. The Rann of Kutch this year was a grand success which received a large number of tourists both domestic and international. Various circuits under the Prasad and Swadesh Darshan Scheme have also been boosted,” says Deven.
In order to offer the world a glimpse into the life and teaching of Mahatma Gandhi, a Dandi Heritage circuit is underway. “We want to enhance this circuit and extend it to the Dandi beach at Navsari. Apart from the basic infrastructure available at destinations like Rajkot, Ahmedabad and Sabarmati Ashram, a Dandi Museum will be made to showcase the philosophy and teaching of the Mahatma. Gujarat is also home to Buddhism and to enhance this segment, we have identified some places like Junagarh, Gir, Somnath and Bhavnagar under the Buddhist Circuit and notified the same under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme. We plan to offer a Buddhist complex to showcase important spiritual sites and traditions.” Deven believes that this circuit will be a popular attraction for tourists from East Asia.
We are planning to turn Modhera into a sustainable unit based on solar energy and make it a world-class tourist attraction
The initiative of border tourism at Nadabet in Banas Kantha district in Gujarat has also picked up well, opines Deven. He points out that the remains of Indus Valley Civilisation in Gujarat are also of tourist interest. “A museum is being upgraded to showcase Indus Valley culture and in collaboration with the Ministry of Shipping, a National Maritime Heritage Complex is also underway. The Modhera village, which houses the famed Sun Temple, is being upgraded. We are planning to turn Modhera into a sustainable unit based on solar energy and into a world-class tourist attraction.” The state is also considering developing niche tourism products like golf tourism. Gujarat is also promoting film tourism. “For this, we already have a film board in place which works as a facilitator to various film makers and attempts to make the procedures simpler to shoot in the state,” adds Deven.
The state of Gujarat is proactively participating in all major travel trade shows at domestic and international platforms like ITM, ITB Berlin, WTM, etc. “We are going out to meet the tour operators and travel agents both Indian and international, and are devising strategies to improve tourist numbers to the state,” adds Deven.