Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Gir catches Maharashtra’s fancy

Gir catches Maharashtra's fancy
The Times of India

Among the Indians, the king of the jungle seems to be attracting tourists from the neighbouring state Maharashtra the most. Analysis of the online data reveals that the tourists from Maharashtra and especially, Mumbai and Pune have had the lion's share.

According to the forest department officials, in the past 10 days, of the first 1,000 bookings, there were 500 odd foreigners, but now this has decreased. Of the 8,110 bookings, there were only 842 online bookings from foreign nationals. Of the remaining 7,300, over 50% bookings were from Gujarat. And of the remaining 50% bookings, which were from other parts of the state, around 45% bookings were from Maharashtra.

These were mainly from Mumbai and Pune. The officials attributed the increasing number of tourists from Maharashtra to good roads and their better connectivity.

The second reason of high number of Maharashtrian tourists is Somnath. "Tourists from Maharashtra visit Somnath for pilgrimage and take Gir in their itinerary. In order to facilitate these tourists and those from abroad, the forest department launched an online booking earlier this month. With the online facility, the department also introduced payment system through credit or debit card for tourists visiting 'Gir interpretation zones' at Sasan and Devaliya from this season," said a senior forester.

On an average, the forest department issues 90 permits on each day the sanctuary is open in a season. Of these, 50% permits will be reserved for online booking, while the remaining permits will be reserved for on-the-spot booking which will be issued at the 'interpretation zone' in Sasan.

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