Sunday, November 2, 2008

UK tourists acquire a taste for Gujarat.

1 Nov 2008, 0329 hrs IST, TNN

AHMEDABAD: They have had dal-bhat-rotli-shak in Leeds and were tempted to ride a chhakda when in Kathiawad to complete the experience. For this bunch of about 15 tourists from UK, having Gujarati thali back home in Leeds was not enough.

Loyal clients of a Gujarati restaurant run in Leeds, by Hansa Dabhi, a non resident Gujarati, this group got curiouser about Gujarat and came here on a two-week vacation.

Hansa Dabhi has been offering vegetarian Gujarati cuisine for over 20 years and after its success, decided to promote tourism in her homeland under the banner, Hansa Heritage Tourism, with husband Kishor Dabhi.

They connected with state tourism minister Jay Narayan Vyas to make things easier. "Tour promoter asked us to facilitate the tour by easing out bottlenecks, which we did. Unlike Rajasthan, which is a tourist-friendly state, tourism industry is yet to evolve in Gujarat," said Vyas.

"We thought that when this group returns back satisfied, they will spread a good word and credibility can be gained for this sector. It is a small experiment which has proven to be successful," said Vyas.

The group saw only one flaw lack of clean pay-and-use toilets at regular intervals, which Vyas says is an important feedback.

According to Vyas, even if one lakh, out of the about 40 lakh NRGs, staying in UK encourage tourism by word of mouth, it would help boost tourist inflow from 2.5 lakh visitors last year to about 10 lakh.

Hansa says, "These people are my clients, who have been eating Gujarati food at my restaurant for long. So, they jumped at the offer of a tour to Gujarat." The tour which began from Manchester, took the group to many places, including a visit to Gandhi Ashram, dinner at Vishala, a stay at Nilambagh palace in Bhavnagar, Mandvi beach, temples at Palitana, Gir lion safari camp, wild ass sanctuary in Dasada and Modhera sun temple. "We planned the tour with an Anand-based tour operator," says Kishor.


1 comment:

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