~ Kushal Bhargav
Rann Utsav is a winter festival hosted by the government of Gujarat. It is a 3-month long annual festival organized generally from December to February near Dhordo village in Kutch district. Kutch is a district of Gujarat. In 2020-21 it started from 12th November and will continue until 28th January. In Rann Utsav, various activities and events are organized which represent the culture of Gujarat. People can explore and get a glimpse of the cultural beauty of Gujarat. The plan of Rann Utsav was first formulated by our honorable Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he was formerly the Chief Minister of Gujarat.
About the festival and its significance
The Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Limited (TCGL) took initiative in the year 2005 to organize Rann Utsav to promote the culture and heritage of Kutch. The attraction of tourists has increased exponentially over the past few years, attracting over 5,00,000 visitors from more than 20 countries. The tent city is spread in 5,00,000 square meters with more than 350 tents. Over 15,000 tons of material is used to build a tent city. A person can enjoy the aerial night view and aerial day view of the white Rann.
The tourists have a lot of fun while engaging in different events and activities, such as camel cart rides, adventure towers, folk dance, etc. If you get a chance to visit the White Rann then never miss the taste of Kutch food. The food court is present in the tent city where you can have a meal in exchange for coupons. ATV rides, zipline, paintball, etc are the adventurous activities you can participate in. Also, do visit the craft bazaar for bringing back souvenirs and memorabilia. The craft bazaar is set up to popularize the art and craft of Gujarat. There are various types of arts and crafts such as Ajrakh: a block painting, Bandhej: a dyeing craft, Vankar: handloom painting, etc. Tourists can also visit the clubhouse for various fun activities such as archery, ATV ride, etc. Tourists should not miss the full moon night view of Rann of Kutch. Also, they can enjoy the most popular folk dances such as the Gajiyo dance and Dandiya Raas.
Expected turnout due to COVID
Over 2.10 lakh tourists visited Rann Utsav in 2018 and the government earned around 4.60 crores. But 78,000 visitors dropped in 2019 which resulted in a decrease in revenue collection. Some sources mention that the activities and facilities provided in Rann Utsav are overpriced.
However, in the year 2020, due to the pandemic, there was an expectation of a further decrease in the number of visitors. This decrease will influence revenue collection. Arrangements were also made according to the pandemic this year by following all the standard protocols for conducting the event. Three types of packages were available with different pricing and different timelines. A tourist can choose the package according to the number of days and price. 1 night and 2-day package, 3 night and 4 days package, and 2 night and 3-day packages were available for tourists. Accommodation in a tent city is included in the package. You can choose a plan according to your requirement and book your trip online through the website of Rann Utsav.
Potential to bring in revenue
In 2018 and 2019 the government earned 4.60 and 2.10 crore respectively by organizing the Rann Utsav. In 2011 the government collected total revenue of 1 crore. But it has been seen that investment made by the government for organizing the event is more than the revenue generated. In 2011 the government invested 8 crores in Rann Utsav but earned only 1 crore from Rann Utsav. It is not possible to estimate the revenue generation potential of Rann Utsav because from the year festival started, we have seen various ups and downs in revenue generation. However, we can provide a range for revenue, and it is that, that it has the potential to generate gross revenue of 1 to 5 crores. The importance of festivals should not be always compared with profit and losses. The Rann Utsav is a festival to promote the art, culture, and heritage of Gujarat and thus is a very important part of upholding the rich legacies of the region.
Also read- About Hornbill festival.