Gujarat unveils new tourism policy, focus on 'high priority' areas

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Gandhinagar: The Gujarat government on Tuesday announced its new tourism policy for 2020-25 with special focus on attracting new investments in the state's "high priority tourism centres" by offering lucrative incentives to entrepreneurs.

Unveiling the policy here on Tuesday, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said tourism projects, such as hotels and resorts, which would come up in these high priority centres will qualify for subsidies on investment and other incentives.

Some of these high priority centres are Kutch, Devbhumi-Dwarka, Narmada, Gir-Somnath, Porbandar, Junagadh and Dang districts.

Some specific talukas of other districts, such as Dhari in Amreli and Dabhoi in Vadodara, are also included in the list of high priority tourism centres.

"Instead of focussing on the entire state, our aim is to develop tourism infrastructure in these high priority areas. Under the new policy, incentives will be given where it was needed the most," Rupani said.

"Some of the new avenues which we are targeting are beach tourism, caravans and rural experience-based tourism," he said.

Under the policy, the government will give subsidy of 20 per cent on capital investment for setting up a hotel in the designated high priority centres.

While the minimum investment required is Rs 1 crore, there is no cap on maximum investment, which excludes the cost of land, as per the policy document.

For setting up theme parks or amusement parks in these priority centres, the subsidy will be 15 per cent for an investment in the range of Rs 50 crore to Rs 500 crore.

To attract large investments in this avenue, the state government will provide land on lease, in addition to the 15 per cent subsidy, for projects of more than Rs 500 crore proposed investment, according to the policy.

Other tourism projects which would be eligible for 15 per cent subsidy on investment are - convention centres with a seating capacity of over 2,500 people, NABH-accredited wellness centres, tourism hospitality and training centres, tents, cottages and container accommodation.

To encourage caravan rental services, the state government has announced to give 15 per cent subsidy on investment up to Rs 10 lakh, for starting such projects in high priority centres.

To encourage new investment in the adventure tourism sectors, entrepreneurs will be offered 15 per cent subsidy, with the limit of Rs 15 lakh, for buying various adventure sport equipment, said the policy document.

Under the new policy, foreign tourists will be offered a 5 per cent discount if they stay at a state government registered hotel.

Rupani said to guide foreign tourists arriving in Gujarat, the state tourism department will set up a dedicated tourism desk at the Ahmedabad international airport.

To promote rural tourism, fair organisers will get an assistance of Rs 5 lakh per year to organise "all inclusive annual fairs and festivals showcasing indigenous culture, dance, handlooms and handicrafts", the policy document said.

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