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14 wet zones mooted in dry Gujarat
April 10, 2010

14 wet zones mooted in dry Gujarat


10 April 2010

Rajiv Shah, Gandhinagar:

Move over investment zones. Dry Gujarat may well usher in wet zones to make its beaches bustle with tourists. Tourism Finance Corporation of India (TFCI), hired to prepare the state’s draft tourism policy, is learnt to have advised the state government to set up 14 wet zones as a key factor to promote beach tourism in Gujarat. A top Indian government official, who recently interacted with state officials on tourism-related issues, told TOI the TFCI’s proposal has been sent for clearance at the top level in Gujarat government. The new tourism policy is likely to be announced during the Swarnim celebrations.

“While interacting with senior officials in state government, it became clear that they are willing to set up permit rooms in three to five star hotels in the wet zones. Here, anyone who is not a resident of the area, will be allowed to drink on producing a residence proof. If Gujaratis can go to Mount Abu to drink, why can’t one create a similar facility on the state’s beaches?’’ said the source. The beaches which the TFCI is particularly interested in developing as wet zones include Shivrajpur, Kutch-Mandvi, Ahmedpur-Mandvi, Ingleshwar and Suvali.

Promoted by GoI in 1990 to finance tourism, TFCI provides consultancy services to Central and state agencies to promote tourism. “TFCI has also asked government in its draft policy for Gujarat to develop tourism on a public-private partnership model,’’ the official added.

Other TFCI proposals are setting up of Gujarat Tourism Investment Promotion Board, responsible for working out details on leasing 5 acres land on each tourism spot, especially beaches, on a profit-sharing basis. It also wants government to provide Rs 20 lakh subsidy to renovate heritage hotels and set up a special purpose vehicle called Gujarat Civil Aviation Company to develop private airstrips to fly small planes between tourism centres for quick movement of tourists.