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Bacchan's Khushboo Gujarat Ki ad campaign fails to put state among India's top 10 tourism destinations: NSS data

By Rajiv Shah
A new Government of India report shows that Gujarat does not figure among the top 10 tourist destinations of India. Led by Maharashtra, other states which are major tourist destinations are Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh & Telangana (taken as one state) Odisha, Rajasthan, Kerala and Karnataka, in that order.
Data for the National Sample Survey (NSS) report, “Domestic Tourism in India”, was collected in 2014-15, immediately after top star Amitabh Bachchan ended his five-year “Khushboo Gujarat Ki” advertisement campaign, which began in 2010, following Narendra Modi becoming Prime Minister of India.
The ad campaign called upon domestic tourists – the segment from whom the data was collected – to “spend at least some days in Gujarat” (kucch din to guzariye Gujarat mein), and became controversial for seeking to politically promote Modi.
The NSS report says, the data reveal that “Maharashtra had the maximum number of visitor trips (1.51 crore) as destination place followed by Uttar Pradesh (1.43 crore) out of those overnight visitor trips originated from all over the country which completed with leading purposes holidaying, leisure and recreation, health & medical and shopping.”
“Similarly”, the report says, “Overnight trips completed during last 30 days with leading purposes business, social, religious & pilgrimage, education & training and others, Uttar Pradesh (1.60 crore) received maximum number of visitor trips followed by Andhra Pradesh & Telangana (1.30 crore).”
According to the report, “A domestic overnight trip is one with a main destination within the country of residence of the visitor. It refers to a movement for duration of not less than twelve hours, including 12 midnight to 5 am in two consecutive calendar days.”
A further analysis of the data in the report suggests that even Gujarat lags behind eight out of 18 major Indian states in percentage of households reporting at least one overnight trip to other states for “holidaying, leisure and recreation, health and medical and shopping”.
Gujarat’s 18% households reporting overnight trips is comparable with 32% Kerala households, followed by Odisha 24%, Maharashtra 23%, Punjab, West Bengal 21%, and Haryana and Tamil Nadu 19%. Gujarat’s 18% equals Jharkhand and Karnataka.
What should be of equal concern to “model” Gujarat’s top tourism policy makers is, Gujarat fares a poor 17th among 18 major Indian states in percentage of households reporting at least one overnight trip with purposes of “business, social, religious & pilgrimage, education & training and others”.
Pointing out that the 18 states chosen by it cover 95% population, as per the census 2011, the report says, “It is observed that overall on all-India level 19% households have reported at least one overnight trip with leading purposes holidaying, leisure and recreation, health & medical and shopping completed during last 365 days.”
It further says, 21% households have reported at least one overnight trip “with leading purposes business, social, religious & pilgrimage, education & training and others completed during last 30 days.”
“At all-India level, no marked difference is observed between rural and urban households as far as reporting of at least one overnight trip completed during both the reference periods of last 365 days and last 30 days preceding the date of survey”, the report adds.

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