Despite an aggressive pitch to lure foreigners to the Rann Utsav, the Gujarat government, it seems, has sorely missed the mark. In its bid to live up the celebratory annual affair, the three years — 2021, 2022 and 2023 — saw a total expense of Rs 20.98 crores on the Tent City, as it is also called. However, in all, the festival registered only 465 foreign guests.
Incidentally, during the 2021-22 timeframe, the Gujarat government presented an outlay of Rs 57,05,91,000 on various festivals to attract tourists. The figures came to light, Wednesday, when Congress leader Arjun Modhwadia questioned tourism minister Mulubhai Bera on the income generated from the hugely expensive affairs.
Modhwadia further pointed out that Rs 8.16 crores were spent on Rann Utsav in 2021, but only 76 foreign tourists arrived. In 2022, 398 foreign tourists participated despite the spending of Rs 12.21 crores.
In 2021, the Gujarat government organised seven events, including Navratri, Saputara Monsoon Festival, Rang Chhe Meghani, Gandhi Jayanti, Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav and Dussehra. A total of Rs 20.57 crore was spent. The following year, Rs 36.48 crores were spent on 13 festivals including Shiv Vandana, Madhavpura Mela, Mango Festival, Asmita Ka Utsav, Rishi Vandana, 51 Shaktipeeth Parikrama.
During the last two years, Rs 81.72 lakhs was spent on television and newspaper advertisements for the promotion of these festivals. Another Rs 21 lakh was spent on arrangement in hotels while Ts 70.53 lakhs were spent on deploying a vehicle line-up for the visitors.
However, all said and done, as Modhwadia pointed out, “the incoming remained a dismal low while the outgoing needs to be scrutinized.”