Vibrant Gujarat - An Emerging Tourist Hotspot in India

Tourism is a major phenomenon of the modern society, which has emerged as an economic activity of immense global importance. Tourism is one of the world’s largest and fastest growing industries.

1. Gujarat – A Land of Opportunities
Gujarat is one of the most diverse States in India. Its history stretches over a long years from the age old Harappan Civilization to the Mughal period. Gujarat's endless journey from Roots to Wings is timeless with historical and cultural traditions glorifying the State. Though till now, Gujarat was considered as a hub for commercial and industrial activity, has immense potential for tourism development with its vast cultural and religious heritage, varied natural attraction and long coastal line. The Tourism policy of the state is aimed at its socio-economic development by developing world-class tourist facilities with ensuring optimum utilization of available resources and developing specific tourist destinations for national and international tourists. Gujarat is situated on the western coast of the Indian subcontinent covering an area of 1,96,026 km2, the state has been transformed into an industrial power-house during the last three decades reducing its dependence on agriculture and textiles. Although the population of Gujarat is only about 5% of India, it accounts for 10% of India’s consumption, 16% of total exports and 30% of total stock market capitalization.

Vibrant Gujarat An Emerging Tourist Hotspot in India

2010 being the Golden Jubilee year of the state formation, government declared the year as Tourism Year. To achieve its vision of tourism development, the state government has set up a company, Gujarat Tourism Project Development Company, in association with Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Limited (IL&FS). As per the 'Vision 2020', prepared by Gujarat Infrastructure Development Board, the total potential for investment in tourism assets in Gujarat is to the tune of US$10 billion.

2. Vision Statement (Big 2020)
Gujarat state government has set a target of putting Gujarat in the league of world's top 50 highest per capita income earning nations by 2020 in a new Big Vision 2020 set by the Gujarat recently. The plan (Big 2020) aims to accelerate Gujarat's development process and envision Gujarat with a per capita income in the league of top 50 countries of the world. The Big 2020 is designed to develop infrastructure that will provide a further fillip to the economic growth of Gujarat and aims at making Gujarat a global tourist destination.

3. Mission Statement
To develop and promote tourism as an ’Engine of economic growth’ as per Big 2020 plan and to bring Gujarat on the national and international tourist map, tourism shall be considered as an important economic activity for overall sustainable economic growth, ensuring employment generation and optimum utilization of vast tourism potential in the state and at the same time preserving and promoting natural, social and cultural heritage of the state. Focus of the tourism policy will primarily be to attract tourists to the State of Gujarat. It would aim at overall development of tourism by providing best quality services of international standards and also by creating excellent infrastructure, connectivity and providing tourists with good facilities in important tourist and religious places like Somnath, Dwarka, Ambaji, Palitana, Dakor, Pavagadh, Girnar, Udwada etc.

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Vibrant Gujarat - An Emerging Tourist Hotspot in India
4. SWOT Analysis
Strengths Weakness

 Gujarat has historical monuments represent the great religions– Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, Islamic, Parsee and Sikh.  A wide range of wildlife including the Asiatic lion and Indian wild ass, endangered antelopes, a variety of deer, etc. It has India’s first marine national park.  More than 400 archaeological sites in the state including some of the most substantial excavations of Indus Valley civilization period at Lothal, Surkotada and Dholavira.  The archaeological zone of Champaner - Pavagadh have been acclaimed by UNESCO as the “World Heritage Site”. The Wild sanctuary, Dholavira Harappan City and Rani-Ki-Vav are in the process of getting status of the World Heritage site.  Medical tourism has high growth potential because of the availability of high-quality, low cost surgeries.
Opportunities

 Poor accessibility to many tourist destinations due to basic Infrastructure bottlenecks  Lack of tourist infrastructure & basic amenities at many tourist destinations  Lack of information about tourist destinations  Unfavourable brand image as a tourist friendly destination.  Lack of Promotional activates  Lack of Investors for Gujarat tourism.

Threats

 Gujarat upcoming as spiritual “Well being” Tourism.  Sun and beaches which includes water sports and adventure sports.  Cruises theme parks.  Private sector investment opportunities.  Nature tourism urban and rural tourism.  Scope for investment in new ventures.  Joint ventures with private parties.  Cashing in on excellent infrastructure facilities

 Competition from South-east Asian countries.  Competition from other state tourism corporations.

Vibrant Gujarat An Emerging Tourist Hotspot in India

5. Approaches
The emerging tourism areas in Gujarat offer various tourism sectors: 5.1. Nature Tourism The policy aims to create an image for Gujarat in international arena by developing entertainment theme parks in certain areas, which would be considered as Special Entertainment Zones. The facilities in these zones will be of world class standards for the benefit of domestic and international tourists interested in leisure tourism. Such facilities will also act as excellent destination for film industries to carry out their shootings. The plan for setting up of Special Entertainment shall be worked out with the private sector participation.    The Policy proposes to develop Dinosaur Fossil Park at Balasinorand Kutch on international scale. The vast potential of 1600 KMs coast line in Gujarat offers excellent potential for tourism development for Gujarat. The policy proposes to identify 9 different beaches in Gujarat and work out detailed action plan for the development of these beaches to attract tourists, both from within and outside Gujarat.

5.2. Eco Tourism With the emerging interest for Eco-tourism throughout the world, the Gujarat government proposes to provide for avenues to attract tourists who are interested in eco-tourism. Existing eco-tourism centres like Nalsarovar, Velavadar, Thol Lake, Gandhinagar, Gir Forest, Balaram, Ratanmahal etc. should be further strengthened to attract tourists interested in eco-tourism.

5.3. Heritage Tourism Gujarat offers high concentration of heritage / archaeological sites with proven 4500 year old history. India’s most substantial remains of Harappan civilization (Indus valley civilization), one of the world’s oldest, are present at Dholavira and Lothal. Ahmadabad’s Heritage walk is the only daily departure Walking Tour in India. Therefore measures are taken to highlight Gujarat’s heritage richness and attract more tourists to its rich culture. Gujarat’s Princely heritage has resulted in the State having more than 20 Heritage Hotels including converted Forts and Palaces.

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Vibrant Gujarat An Emerging Tourist Hotspot in India

5.4. Medical Tourism With India, emerging as one of the destination for medical tourism and also with Gujarat becoming an important player in this regard, Medical Tourism shall be encouraged so that large number of NRIs get attracted to take advantage of the medical facilities in India, particularly in Gujarat, considering the competitive rates for medical treatment and also the timely medical attention, Medical Tourism shall be encouraged in a big way with special emphasis on Naturopathy, Yoga, Holistic Health Treatment etc.

5.5. Cultural Tourism The folklore and folk arts of Gujarat form a major part of the Culture of Gujarat. It preserves the rich tradition of song, dance, drama as well. Gujarat is the land of rich handicrafts like Patola weaving, khadi, bandhani, block printing, embroidery, namda, rogan painting, matani pachhedi, woodcrafts, metal crafts, bamboo crafts, pithora, pottery and many more handicrafts. The tourism policy focuses on promoting Gujarat’s handicrafts and pottery such that it receives world recognition for its ancient and generation to generation passed on art and craftsmanship. Gujarat celebrates all regional fairs and festivals with great fervor and spirits and measures are taken to attract tourists in its festivities.

5.6. Adventure Sports Gujarat has fairly good number of hills, which can be utilised for the promotion of adventure tourism, which is emerging world over as an important sport. Places like Saputara, Idar. Sasan Gir, Wilson Hill, Junagadh, Taranga, Mal Samot, Jessor Hill etc. will be developed for promotion of adventure sports to attract youths, students from schools and colleges and also foreigners. Adventure sports like Paragliding, rock-climbing, Forest Safaris etc. will be developed in such places. Policy also proposes to identify all potential water bodies like sea beaches, lakes and canals, and initiate projects for encouraging Water Sports.

5.7. Event Tourism The policy proposes to give a very special thrust to ‘Event (Festival) based Tourism’ and market the events both within and outside the country and in the process brand Gujarat as the destination for tourism events like Navratri, Somnath festival, Dwarka festival, village olympics on very special type of sports that is unique to Gujarat, Tarnater fare, Kutch festival, Kite

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Vibrant Gujarat An Emerging Tourist Hotspot in India

festival etc. The focus would be to present rich culture and religious heritage of Gujarat and also in the process to give an exposure to the life style of Gujaratis to tourists, visiting Gujarat.

6. Goals
Following tourism products shall be developed and strengthened in the next 10 years:                       Hospitality Industry for the tourists by setting up of Hotels, Tentcities, Village, Heritage Hotels etc. Beach development (cleanliness, nourishment, plantation, safety and long term planning) Beach resorts and water sports at 9 beaches. Special Entertainment Zones. Pilgrim hotels & dormitories (good star hotels, Air-condition dormitories, good restaurants & souvenir shops) Dam & Canal Tourism (at Narmada in line with Vrindavan) Wayside Amenities (twenty, each zone five) Golf Courses (Gandhinagar, Ahmedabad, Baroda, Surat,Kutch) Dinosaur Theme Park Vishwa Gram (Global Village) Coastal Cruise and ferry services Gauge conversion of The Royal Orient Indus Valley Civilization Park (Lothal, Dholavira) Shark Watching Underwater Dwarka watching Eco-tourism Projects Science City Buddhist Circuit (Junagadh, Taleja-Bhavnagar) Gandhi Circuit Sardar Circuit Medical Tourism Chain of Food Courts -----------X------------

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Vibrant Gujarat An Emerging Tourist Hotspot in India

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