“Go Local” is the message that Gujarat tourism conveys to domestic and international visitors through the latest initiative, Bed & Breakfast (B&B). The initiative which has already been launched in Ahmedabad, the Walled City of Gujarat, is purposed to introduce tourists to the state’s ethnic culture and hospitality by inviting the owners of traditional houses to participate in the state tourism development program. Foreign nationals and NRIs are the main target of the Bed & Breakfast plan.
As per the B&B plan, the state’s residential property owners can convert a part of their ancient houses into modest dwellings for tourists. They can make a tax-free income from it. The electricity consumption by tourist guests will be billed under the price slab for residences. The Ministry Tourism of Gujarat will provide financial support through bank loans on easy terms & conditions to the participating property owners for renovation of their residences. It will not just help with heritage conservation in the state but also bring tourists closer to the natives and familiarize them with the traditional ways of life there.
As per the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, Ahmedabad City alone has more than 4000 ancient residences with resemblance to historic and heritage buildings. Both domestic and international tourists will experience the traditional cuisine and culture of Gujarat while staying as paying guests with the local residents. “It will not only make our guests feel at home but enlighten them about the rich heritage of the state,” a senior official of Gujarat tourism said.
The Gujarat Heritage and Tourism Promotion Board has laid a set of eligibility criteria which the residential property owners are required to meet in order to join the B&B program. For instance, one of the members of a heritage residence must speak in English and Hindi. The eligibility criteria include their profession, education and hospitality experience too. The number, size, condition and comfort quotient of rooms in houses will be taken into consideration.
The increasing number of tourists bears out to the escalating graph of Gujarat tourism. In 2012-13, Gujarat received a whopping total of 254.09 lakh visitors including 3.16 lakh NRIs and 2.01 lakh foreigners. This noble initiative by the Gujarat government is expected to be a boon for the residents, tourism, heritage, culture and image building of the state.
We at Indian Eagle laud such promising plans and programs as the Bread & Breakfast project for tourism development in all sectors. We hope that it will prove to be an exemplary lesson for the other states of India. Indian Eagle encourages NRIs and foreigners to visit Gujarat by booking cheap flights online for them.