Thursday, July 3, 2008

Over 40 sites in Gujarat to be developed as eco-tourism destinations

Posted online: Thursday , June 26, 2008 at 02:44:38

Gandhinagar, June 25 The sites showcase wildlife and bird sanctuaries, pristine forests of eastern hilly terrain among others
In an effort to boost eco-tourism and promote nature-based non-consumptive tourism activities in Gujarat, the government has identified as many as 42 sites across the state to be developed as eco-tourism destinations.

The sites include wildlife and bird sanctuaries, pristine forests of the eastern hilly terrain, diverse landscapes and ecological niches among others. The state Tourism Department has entrusted the task to the Forest Department.

Tourism Minister Jay Narayan Vyas said that besides providing a unique experience to foreign as well as domestic tourists, the move will also improve the economic well-being of the local community by involving them in the project.

“The current pace of urbanisation should be an eye opener for all of us. This alarming trend has been gradually alienating the youth from nature and environment,” he added.

The Tourism Department also plans to form eco-tourism committees comprising members of the local community. The committees will manage services related to catering, accommodation and local transport for tourists. They will also be trained as tourist guides and will be involved in the upkeep of the camp sites and interpretation centres.

Vyas told Newsline on Tuesday that the government is committed to implement its new eco-tourism policy. Of the total 42 sites, work at over 30 places has already been completed by the Forest Department, he said.

Chief Conservator of Forests, Rajeeva said: “The department has already spent over Rs 19 crore on developing these sites.

Budget provisions for an additional Rs 1 crore has been made in the current year for such facilities at another 10 eco-tourism sites, including the famous Sasan-Gir lion sanctuary, Velavadar blackbuck sanctuary in Bhavnagar and Kadiya Dungar in Narmada.”

Rajeeva added that various facilities like accommodation and lodging for prospective tourists, camping sites, adventure activities, interpretation centres, and cafeteria among others are also being created at these sites.


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