File Photo
File Photo

Kevadia: The government which has lost an entire tourism season to Corona, is now banking on domestic travellers to revive tourism from the iconic Statue of Unity, the world tallest, here in Modi’s home turf.

The Tourism Ministry and the Gujarat government have put their weight behind the Association of Domestic Tour Operators of India (ADTOI) for its three day annual convention in Tent City 2 in the vicinity of the iconic Statue of Unity dedicated to Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel.

The theme of the tenth annual convention of the 24 year old tour operators body is ‘ Domestic Tourism- Hope for revival- Dekho Apna Desh.’ Inaugurating the meet via video conferencing, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Tourism and Culture, Mr Prahlad Singh Patel said, “ If we work in a well intention way with planning, we can achieve great things and this monument (Statue of Unity) is proof of that. He said that India should reach the top position from the 34th spot in tourism soon.”

The new Tourism Secretary, Mr Arvind Singh made rather favourable projections about daily tourist footfall to the 182-metre tall Statue of Unity and the Kevadia Tourism Circuit when he said, “More than 50 lakh visitors have come to see the Statue of Unity after it was dedicated to the nation (on October 31, 2018) and it is estimated that progressively as connectivity improves, Kevadia will receive approximately one lakh visitors everyday. This is the right example of planned development of economy while protecting the environment and local economy. Kevadia has transformed into a complete family destination with all amenities and has direct rail connectivity with major cities in the country - Delhi, Mumbai, Varanasi, Chennai, Mumbai, Ahmedabad to name a few. Tourism has greatly impacted the lives of locals here. Already, 200 rooms are being developed for home stay in tribal villages.”

The Tourism Secretary said that this is the time to travel again- Dekho Apna Desho.

“ Domestic tourism is the way forward. With required protocols and safety measures in place, there could be no better place than the Statue of Unity, Kevadia and no better occasion than the annual conference of domestic tour operators to spread this message. Kevadia is a right example of how tourism can touch the lives of people at every level especially the local population.”

Kevadia which is only 200 kilometre from the State Capital Ahmedabad, has come to be known for its tourism circuit which includes the Valley of flowers, the Cactus Garden, Dinosaur Park, the Jungle Safari, tribal museum Ekta cruise and India’s first commercial sea plane service.

Speaking on the occasion, ADTOI President. Mr P.K. Khanna suggested Income Tax exemption for domestic travellers for a travel package of Rs 1.5 lakh and lowering of GST levied on hotel bookings for domestic travellers. ADTOI is a body of 700 members.

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