Sunday, May 27, 2012

40% rise in Gir visitors

40% rise in Gir visitors
The Economic Times By Himanshu Kaushik

The king's darbar is getting bigger. The number of tourists visiting Gir has shot up by about 40% compared to last year. Barely 20 days are left for the sanctuary to close down for tourists and yet the numbers are only increasing. Footfalls at Gir and Devaliya safari have crossed the 4.11 lakh-mark between June 1, 2011, and May 25, 2012 - a rise of 1.16 lakh tourists, which is the highest ever.

The heavy tourist inflow is also paving way for largescale infrastructure growth. In the past one year, the number of hotel rooms has doubled in the area from 200-odd to over 450.

Leading national hotel chains like Fern Gir Forest, The Gateway Hotel-Taj group and Club Mahindra have already made their entry into the sanctuary. More players are in the process of setting up resorts here.

"About 20 hotels were granted permission before the two km norm was implemented. Most of them have commenced operations this year," said deputy conservator of forests, Sandeep Kumar. The sanctuary earned over Rs 4 crore from entry ticket sales. Until two years ago, the collection used to be around Rs 2 crore.

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