Sunday, November 18, 2012

Gujarat: Gir roars tourism record, 9,384 tourists visit in a day

Gujarat: Gir roars tourism record, 9,384 tourists visit in a day
Daily Bhaskar

Friday (November 16) may have been just another day for rest of Gujarat. But it has turned out to be a red letter day for the Gir Lion Sanctuary after it hosted a record number of 9,384 visitors in just one day! Never before has the sanctuary played host to such a large number of visitors in one day. The sanctuary had last year seen 7,356 visitors a day during the same period.
In all close to 23,000 visitors came to see the majestic lions during the holidays - starting from Diwali day - 13th ,14th,15th and 16th. The number is likely to shoot up by Sunday, when the extended holidays end. 18,780 people had visited Gir during the same period last year.
On what could have lead to the substantial rise in tourists, Dr Sandeep Kumar, deputy conservator of forest Sasan, says, "Gir sanctuary as the last abode of the Asiatic lion is gaining popularity and more and more tourists are getting to know about it. Hence the interest gets reflected in the tourist figures."
In addition to increased awareness about the destination, some forest officials are attributing the rise in visitors to the 'Khushboo Gujarat ki campaign'.
"9,384 visitors a day is a record of sorts for the sanctuary. In fact we have seen a substantial rise in planned tourists given the number of requests we received for prior-bookings," Dr Kumar added.
Needless to say the rise in tourists has also translated into better revenue for the forest department, which has collected close to Rs 28 lakh during the four days. Last year the revenue was Rs23,60,000 for the same period (Diwali and subsequent two days).
The sanctuary has seen a 139% growth in foreign tourists as well although in numbers they are not that big. The sanctuary saw 153 foreigners during the period compared to 64 last year.
To cater to the rush, the department had also made arrangement for additional guides and mini-buses as well.

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