The Gujarat government is looking to promote tourism by developing beaches in the state and modelling them on those in Israel. Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, who is leading a high-profile delegation from Gujarat on a six-day trip to Israel, told PTI here that the state has “the potential to develop beaches like here and in Goa which can promote tourism”.
A close aide to the chief minister in the delegation said they were impressed by how the beaches were planned in Israel. “They (Israeli beaches) offer wide variety of options for tourists and travellers which is something we can also replicate on our sea shores. We are planning to develop our beaches in Ahmedpur Mandvi, Mandvi (kutch), Shivrajpur (Dwarka) and Somnath,” he said.
“So far, tourism in the state can be largely described as religious tourism. The beaches, once developed, could add more to the tourism potential of the state,” he added.
On a question on promoting tourism from Israel, Rupani said a crucial game changer in this regard could be the introduction of direct flights from Tel Aviv to Mumbai.
El Al, Israel’s national carrier, has flights from Tel Aviv to Mumbai three times a week but the airlines cannot use airspace of Muslim-dominated countries and hence, has to take a longer route prolonging the flight time by 2-3 hours, which also adds to the cost.
Air India has recently launched direct flights from Delhi to Tel Aviv thrice a week and given the response, there are reports that may soon become four times a week.
Air India has managed to obtain a permit from the Saudi authorities to use their airspace for flights to Tel Aviv which has helped save flight time and made the tickets cost-competitive.