AHMEDABAD: Gir sanctuary, the last habitat of the Asiatic lion, is turning into a star attraction. The sanctuary recorded an its all-time high in terms of number of tourists visiting in a single day.
The sanctuary received a record 9,384 tourists on Friday. This is 27% higher than highest recorded number in the past few years. The previous best was 7,356 tourists in a single day last year. Sources in the forest department said it that the forest department was forced to call for additional 20-seater buses because of the rush.
"Since the number of individual permits was only 150 a day, it was not easy to meet the rush and it was decided to have 20-seater buses. Last year, two such buses were pressed into service, but this year 12 were pressed into service in the Gir Sanctuary and another 14 buses at the Devalia interpretation zone," said the officer.
Sandeep Kumar said in the last four days of the Diwali festival revenue grew about 22% as compared to the last Diwali festival. He said there was a 139% increase in the number of foreign tourists in these four days and Indian tourists registered an increase of 21%. Officials said that this year, when the sanctuary closed in May end, the number of tourists had shot up by about 40% compared to last year.
Footfalls at Gir and Devaliya safaris crossed 4.11 lakh between June 1, 2011 and May 25, 2012 - an increase of 1.16 lakh tourists -the highest ever.