From attending political rallies to meeting candidates, around 20 tour operators in the state will provide guided tours to foreign tourists under the unique initiative called ‘Election Tourism’.
Around 1,800 tourists from across the globe had witnessed the 2014 Lok Sabha election in Gujarat under this initiative, industry sources said, adding that the number is expected to cross 2,500 this year.
The tourists who had visited the state in 2014 mainly comprised of students, researchers, media professionals, political analysts and those who wanted to understand how elections in India are conducted on such a massive scale, said Manish Sharma, chairman of the Gujarat Tourism Development Society (GTDS), an organisation of tour operators.
“Around 1,800 foreign tourists had visited Gujarat in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. They were mainly from Japan, UAE, the US and some European countries. They were taken to different parts of the state by tour operators to witness various poll related events, such as bike rallies and public meetings,” Sharma, owner of citybased Akshar Travels, said.
According to him, there are different tour packages to choose from. While the six-day package costs Rs 40,000, the two-week long package is for Rs 1.50 lakh. “Apart from taking them to political rallies and public meetings, we will also take tourists to rural parts of the state so that they can have a glimpse of the election atmosphere there,” he said.
He claimed the tour operators will also arrange one-toone meetings with poll candidates as well as star campaigners of major political parties during the tour that may last for around seven days.