Statue of Unity footfall logs 30.5% rise, crosses pre-Covid numbers
“The average daily tourist footfall at present is 12,369 as against 10,194 during the pre-Covid period, marking a jump of 21%,” said a Union government official familiar the matter, requesting anonymity.
New Delhi: Statue of Unity, the world’s tallest statue commemorating India’s first deputy prime minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, has recorded a marked increase in average daily footfall of tourists, surpassing the pre-pandemic figures and becoming one of the most visited non-religious destinations in the country, according to officials who have access to the data.
“The average daily tourist footfall at present is 12,369 as against 10,194 during the pre-Covid period, marking a jump of 21%,” said a Union government official familiar the matter, requesting anonymity. “On weekends, the footfall has increased to 18,187 per day as against the pre-Covid figure of 13,937, a 30.5% increase.”
The highest one-day footfall at the 182-metre-tall statue has also seen a sharp increase, the official added. “During pre-Covid period, maximum footfalls of 34,136 and 34,674 were recorded on August 20, 2019 and December 29, 2019, respectively. In the recent times, the maximum footfalls were recorded at 50,108 on November 6, 2021 and 51,871 the following day,” the official said.
Access to tourist destinations and monuments was completely restricted during the first and second waves of the Covid-19 pandemic, and was gradually opened up for people at half capacity in the middle of last year. Most of the Covid-related restrictions have been lowered now, allowing visitors access the heritage sites.
The Statue of Unity was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his home state Gujarat on October 31, 2018. It was a flagship project of the government, with both the PM and home minister Amit Shah highlighting its significance in commemorating India’s heritage.
Since its inauguration, 7.94 million people have visited the Statue of Unity so far, one of the officials said. “Before Covid-19 struck, 4.42 million people had visited it in less than 15 months. Since then, the tourist footfall was affected due to two lockdowns and two periods of restricted entry in view of Covid-19 pandemic. Since June 8, 2021, tourist footfall has even crossed the pre-Covid daily averages,” the official added.
Former Union minister of state for tourism Prahlad Singh Patel had informed parliament in March last year that from November 2018 till February 2020, close to when the first lockdown was imposed, 4,258,060 tourists visited the Statue of Unity, with a monthly average of 266,129. “As per the information received from Gujarat government, total income generated at Statue of Unity from selling tickets including parking fees from November 2018 to February 2020 works out to ₹116.31 crore,” Patel said.
“Statue of Unity is one of the top most visited sites now, even in comparison with other popular tourist sites,” said one of the officials cited above. “This place has become a preferred family holiday destination of international standard where there are some tourist attractions of interest for all age groups in addition to the Statue of Unity itself. If we don’t compare it with other religious tourist places, it has the largest tourist footfall in the country.”
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