Gujarat has all the ingredients to become one of India’s leading travel destinations – natural beauty, rich heritage, ancient archaeological sites and a colourful culture as well. Yet, Gujarat tourism has not met success in comparison to destination branding success stories such as Kerala, Rajasthan, Goa, etc.
The primary aim of this study was to study destination Gujarat and probe for the reasons behind this phenomenon. A secondary aim of this study was to explore destination branding as a concept by evaluating Gujarat tourism and in the process understand how domestic and foreign tourists choose destinations for travel.
The literature review highlighted issues such as critical success factors behind destination brands, growth of destination brands on the internet and the main points of the current tourism policy of Gujarat. There was a lack of information on Gujarat Tourism and hence a research was conducted which had both qualitative and quantitative components. The results from this research were used to compare destination Gujarat with three other competing states.
Finally, on the basis of the research findings and analysis it was recommended that Gujarat has the potential to become a top tourist destination if it manages to create a distinct identity and strong brand associations via effective marketing strategies.
Since centuries Gujarat has been a vibrant melting pot of cultures, traditions and movements. It has also been blessed with a unique natural landscape and architecture which includes ruins of a long forgotten ancient Harappan civilization at Dholavira and Lothal to the abode of endangered wildlife like the Asiatic Lion and Wild Ass not found anywhere else in the world; from the holy town of Dwarka to the glorious Modhera Sun Temple built by the Solanki rulers.
Yet, unlike rival tourist states such as Rajasthan, Kerela, Andhra Pradesh and Goa, Gujarat has still not been able to fulfill its tourist potential. Much of it is due to an inability to carve out a unique identity and develop offerings which attracts more tourists.
The objective of the study ‘Understanding and Evaluating Gujarat Tourism’ is to understand Gujarat as an emerging tourist destination and on the basis of research suggest recommendations for it to be amongst the leading tourist destinations in India.
The main reasons for choosing this topic as an area for study are:
* Marketing destinations provides an immense challenge to any management student in my opinion. It is an extremely complex product which has a mix of natural beauty, heritage, culture, tradition, folkart, food, etc. The study provides an opportunity to understand and analyze the marketing of such a product
* Most of the academic articles that I came across on destination branding were written in a global context. A few case studies have been written on successful tourist states such as Kerela, Uttarkhand, etc. There is no recent research as such done on Gujarat tourism or its marketing and branding initiatives
* Around six years ago,
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