The three-month-long “Rann Utsav” (desert festival), to be held at Dhordo village in Bhuj from November 1, is slated to have two seasons with differential tariffs. On till February 20, Rann Utsav is expected to register 10-15 per cent growth this year, owing to the “new season” that will have 15% reduced tariffs during November and February.
The rates for four different types of accommodations at the tent city in Dhordo in November-February season ranges from Rs 5,000-Rs 8,100 on twin sharing basis for a one-night-two-day package. The tariff for December-January begin from Rs 5,500-Rs 9,100, respectively, that includes sightseeing and meals.
“To add to our tourist occupancy during the November-February months that are generally off season, we have reduced prices this time. With 350 tents, we have divided the festival into two seasons — January-December and November-February — and added a pick up from Gujarati cities, like Ahmedabad, Vadodara and Surat. Prices to the Rann Utsav in December-January months are marginally higher by Rs 250. However, we are giving a 15 per cent discount in tariff in November-February season bookings. A new category of ‘Economy Swiss tents’ has been added to cater to tourists at more price points. Last year, we had a footfall of 22,000 people who stayed with us at the tented city and we expect a growth of 15 per cent revenues in this edition,” said Nikhil Agrawal, partner at Lallooji & Sons, Ahmedabad, who operates the tent city at Dhordo. Agrawal also said that a few sections of the proposed Santalpur-Gaduli state highway like the stretch between Dhordo-Khavda was ready.
Apart from a slew of new tourist facilities to be offered during this edition, including a tourist facilitation centre, Gujarat Tourism has constructed a 30-metre high watch tower, designed by Ahmedabad architect Jayesh Parekh, with a funding of Rs 75 lakh that is to be inaugurated on Dattatreya Jayanti on December 13. Around six villages adjoining the annual desert festival are also set to open up homestays for tourists, say tourism officials.
N Srivastava, MD of Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Ltd (TGCL), said, “We have also approached the Border Security Force (BSF) to explore if we could have a display of their defence equipments at the venue for the tourists. A separate lane spanning 2-3 km stretch on either side of the highway has been created for easy mobility of camel and horse carts on the way to the White Rann from the tent city. Pedestrian paths have also been created for smooth tourist flow. Around 8-10 lakh tourists visited Dhordo last year and we are expecting a 15 per cent growth in this edition.”