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In 20 years, hotel rooms near Gir sanctuary rose from 25 to 2,500: Minister

Talking about the Gir sanctuary, the minister said different spots are being identified with the sanctuary for conducting jungle safaris for tourists.

Written by Avinash Nair | Gandhinagar |
March 27, 2021 8:47:01 am
lions in Amreli, Amreli, amreli village, gujarat village, gir forest, Gir national park, gir sanctuaryThe last remaining abode of Asiatic Lions have risen to 2500 from a mere 25 rooms around 20 years ago. (Express photo by Javed Raza)

Pointing to a 12-fold increase in tourists visiting Gujarat, Jawhar Chavda, state tourism minister told the Gujarat Assembly on Friday that the number of hotel rooms in and around Gir sanctuary — the last remaining abode of Asiatic Lions — have risen to 2500 from a mere 25 rooms around 20 years ago.

“If we take the figures for 2001-02, 52 lakh tourists had come to Gujarat. During last year, i.e. 2019-20, this figure stood at 6.09 crore. In short, during the past 20 years, the number of tourists rose 12 times,” said Chavda while speaking on the budgetary demands for tourism and fisheries departments.

Telling the the House that he has spent his past in Junagadh, the minister while talking about lion shows, said, “In the past, lions shows held by the government. The forest department would tie a cattle (as bait) and tickets used to be collected from those wanted to see the Lion hunt. During those times, 25-50 people used to attend these shows. Things changed with time. Lion shows were closed.”

He said the number of tourists coming to see Asiatic lions have also grown with time. “Twenty years ago, there were only 25 rooms available in Sasan. About 8-10 rooms belonging to the government and a similar number of rooms belonged to the forest department. Only 4-5 rooms were private. In last 20 years, the 25 rooms has increased to 2500 rooms. The reason for this is tourism campaign run by Narendra Modi, who then headed the state,” Chavda added.

“During vacations, it is hard to find hotel rooms,” he said. Talking about the Gir sanctuary, the minister said different spots are being identified with the sanctuary for conducting jungle safaris for tourists.

“Traffic jams used to happen due to increase in number of tourists who come to see the lions and so we scouted new sites for seeing lions. For instance 400 hectares at Ambardi in Dhari is being prepared for tourists coming to see lions. This is similar to the set up at Devaliya. This is being done to prevent crowding inside a forest,” Chavda added.

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