Gujarat eyes 18% growth in tourist arrivals

gujratMUMBAI: Aiming up to 18 per cent growth in the tourist footfall in Gujarat and promoting it as a global tourist destination, the State Tourism Corporation has planned to spend Rs 550 crore this financial year to upgrade infrastructure and public amenities.

“We will continue to aggressively market Gujarat as a tourist destination in India as well as abroad. We have been witnessing 12-13 per cent growth in footfalls since last 2-3 years. This year we are targeting for 17-18 per cent growth,” Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Limited (TCGL) Managing Director Sanjay Kaul told reporters here.

The total tourist flow during the year 2013-14, to Gujarat was 287.88 lakh, according to government data.

“Of the total arrivals, 10 per cent are international tourists. Domestic tourism over the years has been out pacing the international tourism growth in the country and we strongly believe that if domestic tourism grows then international tourism will automatically flow in,” he said.

The state government has lined up Rs 550 crore to further improve public amenities, like parking, public toilets, provision of safe drinking water, food kiosks among others, he said adding that in Saputara, a lake front is being developed, which is a large project.

Besides infrastructure, the government is also promoting festivals to attract tourists in the state via Mango festival, Monsoon festival, Tarnetar fair, Navratri festival and The Rann Utsav.

“We have an array of festivals, beginning with the Mango Festival in May and ending with the International Kite Festival in January. In between we have four other festivals.

This year we are planning to introduce one more festival, the Beach festival in December,” he said.

The Beach festival will be organized in Mandvi in Kutch and Thital in Valsad, Kaul added.

“Moreover, we have also decided to extend the duration of Rann Utsav to three months from this year’s one month,” he said. -PTI