Tourists are enjoying their tours with the election campaign

With election fever gradually gripping the country, tour operators in many parts of the country have come up with special packages for foreign tourists wishing to experience various Lok Sabha polls related events in the various states during the campaign period. Many tourists have specially planned their tours to study this festival of democracy. Ma ny management experts want to know how such a huge campaign is managed with transparent procedures.

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.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had recognised the importance of this new tourism avenue. He said that the prime minister recently sent him a letter which said, “Our country takes pride in being the largest democracy in the world. Elections in India are the biggest democratic process, where citizens exercise their right to vote.”

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The concept of election tourism in Gujarat was first introduced during the Assembly polls in 2012, followed by the 2014 Lok Sabha election. Travel agencies expect that over 2,500 foreign tourists will visit Gujarat during the Lok Sabha polls this time. “The tourists were also made aware about key poll issues by political leaders during such tours. In all, tourists get a complete experience of our election process,” Sharma said.

“These multi-phased elections have opened a new dimension of tourism by showcasing our ‘Jan Shakti’ or the ‘Power of People’,” the letter said.

Besides getting a first-hand experience of the charged-up election atmosphere, tourists would also be given an opportunity to explore the heritage and other important sites, such as the Statue of Unity dedicated to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.

From attending political rallies to meeting candidates, around 20 tour operators in the Gujarat 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.


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