Friday, July 02, 2010

Gir collects Rs 2 crore from tourist inflow

Gir collects Rs 2 crore from tourist inflow
Times of India By Himanshu Kaushik

For the first time, Gir sanctuary and Devaliya Interpretation Centre has crossed the Rs 2 crore mark as far as tourism revenues are concerned, an increase of over 17 per cent from earlier years.

Official data shows that the number of visitors too has gone up. In Gir Sanctuary, it has gone up by 23 per cent while the same in Devaliya has gone up by nearly 30 per cent.

Deputy conservator of forest Sandeep Kumar said this year more than 13,299 more visitors have visited during the season from October 2009 to 15 June 2010. The number of visitors during tourist season was 70,391.

Senior officers said the number of foreigners who visited the sanctuary is just 7 per cent of the total visitors. Of the 70,391, 4,957 were foreigners, which was 541 more than 2008-09. Lesser foreigners have visited Devaliya. According to Kumar, the increase in revenue is because of rise in tourists as the entry rates remain unchanged. He further said only 90 vehicles were permitted to enter the sanctuary in two shifts — morning and evening. "During vacation and on holidays, there was a need to increase the number of permits as many tourists had to wait for their turn," said an official.

The maximum rush was noticed during Diwali holidays, Dusshera, Christmas, New Year and Uttarayan. During summer vacation, the rush was as expected. Officials further said that because of uncertainity of sighting a lion, many Indian tourists prefer to have a look of the majestic lion in Devaliya rather then coming to Gir Sanctuary. Also, those on the way to Somnath would make a short halt at Devaliya and then resume their journey.

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