Friday, October 21, 2011

Permit quotas for entry to Gir sanctuary to be raised to 150

Permit quotas for entry to Gir sanctuary to be raised to 150

The permit quota for entry to Gir Wildlife sanctuary, the only abode of Asiatic lions, is likely to be increased to 150 from the usual 90 to meet the heavy rush on Diwali weekend, forest officials said today.

Anshuman Sharma, District Conservator of Forests, said the maximum capacity has been upped to 150 permits as number of tourists visiting this sanctuary in Junagadh district have risen since its opening on October 16, after remaining closed for four months on account of the breeding season.

The sanctuary houses more than 411 Asiatic lions and has started attracting thousands of visitors after the 'Gujarat Ki Khushboo' promotion campaign by megastar Amitabh Bachchan, he said.

From the very first day of its reopening, tourists from South Africa, Ireland, Australia, Brazil and various parts of the country including West Bengal, Tamilnadu and Punjab visited Gir, Sharma said.

Talking to PTI, Kamlesh Patel, Chairman of Gujarat Tourism Corporation Limited said the ad campaign has created awareness, attracting tourists from all over the world to Gir forests.

Gujarat tourism minister Jitendra Sukhadiya said every hotel and restaurant near the Gir Wildlife Reserve has been booked.

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