Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Gujarat to promote tourism through prohibition mantra

2008-06-25 20:26:30

Gujarat Global News Network, Ahmedabad

Tourism Minister Jay Narayan Vyas today made it clear that there would be no relaxation in the policy of Prohibition in the name of tourism promotion. On the contrary, he said, prohibition was the USP of Gujarat and soon he would come out with a campaign highlighting prohibition and vegetarianism as the major attractions of the state.

In informal interaction with media, Vyas countered the idea of relaxation in prohibition with the argument that people come for sightseeing and not boozing. Tourists get liquor in their state and country and they come to Gujarat to see places with attractions ranging from Asiatic lions to Rann of Kutch.

He said that advocates of relaxation in the policy seem to overlook the fact that more and more people were becoming teetotaler and adopting vegetarianism world over. These two are the part of Gujarat’s social fabric and the State is to sell them as its USP.

To a question about relaxation in prohibition in the SEZ zones, he said that it was a different product to be sold to different clientele. The question of prohibition policy came up when Vyas was unfolding before journalists an ambitious plan to develop and promote Saputara in South Gujarat.

Saputara which represents the highest mountain range in Gujarat borders Maharashtra. Vyas said that those who loved booz could go to the neighbouring Maharashtra, just five six kms away from Saputara.

Every year lakhs of people pass through Saputara to visit Shirdi and Nasik in Maharashtra. But most of these visitors do not stay at Saputara. Vyas said that this is mainly because of poor basic facilities and lack of places to enjoy.

Now, Vyas said, a lake is being developed in Saputara. To tackle the problem of electricity, a 66KV line is being laid. Water resources are also being developed. Saputara already has accommodation of 1500 rooms and more accommodation is being created.

In next couple of months, the Tourism Department is going to launch a massive campaign to market Saputara, he said. A photographic competition, Different moods of Saputara , will be held soon where artists of repute will show their photographs and best entries will be given award.

He said that not many have idea of clouds hovering in the houses for almost two months or so every year in Saputara. In Mt Abu this is just for a week in a year, he said. The beauty of Saputara in monsoon, potential of adventure sports and the position of a hill station is the mix that will make Saputara an all weather tourist destination of Gujarat.


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