Varanasi’s tourism sector attracts big money, officials hail investors as ‘harbingers of change’
During the event, the tourism sector alone witnessed investment proposals worth ₹11,500 crore as more than 40 investors signed MoUs with the tourism department.
VARANASI With tourist footfall rising to a whopping 7.3 crore in Varanasi last year, investors are looking to invest in the local tourism sector. A glimpse of this euphoria around the sector was witnessed when the district hosted its own investors’ summit. During the event, the tourism sector alone witnessed investment proposals worth ₹11,500 crore as more than 40 investors signed MoUs with the tourism department.
According to officials, the state’s industry-friendly policies have attracted local investors and bigwigs in the tourism sector. Hailing the investors as the ‘harbingers of change’, the officials have said that Kashi is set to witness an unprecedented boom in its tourism sector.
Calling it a ‘rare moment’ for the Kashi’s tourism sector, Varanasi’s deputy tourism director Preeti Srivastava said, “It is indeed a rare thing for all of us. Not only local investors but the established brands of the tourism business have also turned up this time. We also have a long list of investors from Varanasi, Ghaziabad, Delhi, Meerut, Gorakhpur, and Western U.P. districts. Many of them are rather new to this sector but are very much eager to invest in Varanasi’s tourism.”
While the investment data is yet to be analysed, officials say that more than 30% of the total investment is coming from local investors. One such investor is Sonal Sahai, who hails from Varanasi and has made a proposal to invest ₹50 crore in Kashi. “I am a software engineer and my father is a BHU alumnus. While we have travelled the world, it was our dream to come back to Kashi and start something of our own here. Therefore, we thought of a new concept where people will get to enjoy restaurant food amidst nature and also enjoy organic farming,” said Sahai while adding that it is their small attempt to give back to society.
As per the tourism department record, the tourism sector received proposals of around ₹11,576 crore and over 40 MoUs were signed in the recent district-level investors’ summit. Of the total investment, a good majority is coming from investors who belong to Varanasi or neighbouring districts. “The massive turnout of investors is expected to generate employment for more than 34,000 people. It will also take the tourism sector to new heights,” added Srivastava.
Out of the many proposals received, the air-circuit pilgrimage, which is expected to witness an investment of around ₹5,000 crore, is said to be the most striking. Mohit Saini, one of the owners of Rajas Aerosports and Adventures, said the idea behind the project is to draw an air circuit through which all the pilgrimage places -- including Kashi, Ayodhya, Haridwar, and Mathura -- would be connected. “Under the project, tourists visiting Kashi would have an opportunity to fly in a chopper and to soak in the breathtaking views of the Ganga. The entire project is expected to generate direct and indirect employment for around 10,000 people,” Saini told HT.
Other than the air circuit, Kashi has also received proposals for projects, including 20 five-star hotels, resorts and restaurants, a mall, Ganga Putra River Cruise, a larva park, and wellness resorts. Officials with the tourism department said the overwhelming response from the investors is an outcome of the formidable rise in the numbers of tourists, which Kashi has witnessed of late.
IMPACT OF KV DHAM RENOVATION
In a recent statement, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath had said that Kashi has witnessed a formidable rise in the number of tourists after the rejuvenation of Kashi Vishwanath Dham. As per records with the KV Dham officials, it had become all the more popular after renovation.
Sunil Kumar Verma, chief executive officer (CEO) of the Kashi Vishwanath Dham, said, “Over 7 crore devotees have visited Kashi Vishwanath temple to seek blessings of Lord Shiva in the last one year. Also, the temple received offerings of over ₹100 crore, including cash of over ₹50 crore (around 40 percent received online), at least 60 kg gold, 10 kg of silver, and 1,500 kg copper.”