New Gujarat Tourism Policy offers subsidies and incentives for all the stakeholders of the tourism industry and aims to generate local employment.
In a bid to promote tourism in the state, the Gujarat government has announced a new tourism policy for the period of 2021-2025. Under the Gujarat Tourism Policy, the state government will provide subsidies on investment and other incentives as well to establish tourist infrastructure in the state. These include hotels, convention centres in high priority areas. Also, under the new Gujarat Tourism Policy, foreign tourists will receive a 5% discount if they stay at a hotel, which is registered to the state government.
This tourism policy scheduled to be implemented over the next five years is claimed to be developing and augmenting tourism in a sustainable manner. The Gujarat Tourism Policy shall be in effect from 1st January 2021 to 31st March 2025, as the state government has claimed.
The new Gujarat Tourism Policy 2021-2025 covers all the sub-sectors of the tourism industry, which include medical tourism, wellness tourism, MICE tourism, coastal and cruise tourism, adventure and wildlife tourism, rural-based experience tourism, etc.
According to the state government, the Gujarat Tourism Policy 2021-2025 is also meant to promote lesser-explored products among tourists. For this, the Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Limited (TCGL) will sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Gujarat State Handloom and Handicraft Development Corporation Limited (GSHHDCL). Under this agreement, the local handicrafts will be promoted to international tourists.
Under the Gujarat Tourism Policy, the state government will also provide required assistance and co-operation for marketing products through digital media, and TCGL is claimed to be providing a platform for the same.
Talking about the policy, Vijay Rupani, Chief Minister of Gujarat, said that the new tourism policy has been framed in the line of the central government’s Atmanirbhar Bharat, to be ‘Vocal for Local’, which will be boosting local employment in the state. “The state is gifted geographically. It has hill resorts, natural attractions, beaches, etc in addition to a rich legacy of ancient crafts and civilizations,” said Rupani.
The primary focus of the policy is to provide ambient facilities to tourists in Gujarat. As the government claims, more than 441 applications were received for developing tourism units during 2021-2025 and more than 286 units among them have become operational as commercial units.
In all, the Gujarat Tourism Policy is claimed to be a comprehensive strategy to promote the state’s tourism, which will not only churn out revenue for the state government but will generate employment as well to aid the economy of the state.
Let’s take a look at what the Gujarat Tourism Policy is offering to the tourism industry.
Encourage adventure tourism
Adventure tourism is the genre that is witnessing rapid growth across the country, especially, in places, where geographical diversity is rich. The Gujarat Tourism Policy has been framed to encourage the segment.
Under this strategy, the government will give a 15% subsidy on investment up to Rs 10 lakh to the investors who will start such projects in high priority centres. To encourage the investors to invest in adventure tourism, the state government will offer a 15% subsidy with a limit of Rs 15 lakh, for buying adventure sports equipment.
5% discount for foreign tourists
Under the new tourism policy, the Gujarat government has allowed a 5% discount to the foreign tourists who will be staying at a state government registered hotel. The state tourism department will set up a dedicated tourism desk at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport in Ahmedabad, in a bid to guide foreign tourists arriving in Gujarat.
Promotion of rural tourism
In an attempt to promote rural tourism in the state, the Gujarat government will assist the fair organisers with an amount of Rs 5 lakh per year. This will help the organisers to organise all-inclusive annual fairs and festivals that will showcase the indigenous culture, dance, handlooms, and handicrafts.
Generate local employment
The Gujarat government will assist hotels, resorts, and tour operators in the state to find local guides and tourist guides, which would generate local employment. As the policy document claims, the state government will provide the hotels and resorts a monthly remuneration of Rs 4,000 per month per person for 6 months, for employing local tour guides.
Subsidy to set up hotels, convention centres, amusement parks
Under the Gujarat Tourism Policy, the state government will give a 20% subsidy on capital investment for setting up a hotel in the designated high priority centres. While the minimum investment for such projects require is Rs 1 crore, there is no cap on maximum investment value. The subsidy will be 16% for setting up theme parks or amusement parks in these priority centres, for an investment of Rs 50-500 crore.
These high priority centres include Kutch, Devbhumi-Dwarka, Narmada, Gir-Somnath, Porbandar, Junagadh, and Dang districts. Dhari in Amreli and Dabhoi in Vadodara is also included in the list of the high priority tourism centres.
As the policy document says, the state government will provide land on lease to the investors, in addition to the 15% subsidy, for projects of more than Rs 500 crore proposed investment, in a bid to attract large investment. Apart from that, other tourism projects to be eligible for 15% subsidy on investment include convention centres with over 2,500 people’s seating capacity, NABH-accredited wellness centres, tourism hospitality and training centres, tents, cottages, container accommodation etc.