New Delhi: The Statue of Unity, the world’s tallest statue commemorating India’s First Deputy Prime Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, has seen a marked increase in average daily tourist attendance, surpassing pre-pandemic figures and becoming the one of the most visited non-religious destinations in the country. , according to officials who have access to the data.
“Average daily tourist attendance is currently 12,369 compared to 10,194 during the pre-Covid period, marking a jump of 21%,” said a Union government official familiar with the matter, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Weekend attendance increased to 18,187 per day from 13,937 pre-Covid, an increase of 30.5%.”
The highest single-day attendance at the 182-meter-tall statue has also seen a sharp increase, the official added. “During the pre-Covid period, peak steps of 34,136 and 34,674 were recorded on August 20, 2019 and December 29, 2019, respectively. In recent times, the peak number of steps was recorded at 50,108 on November 6, 2021 and 51,871 the next 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 to half-full people in the middle of last year. Most of the Covid related restrictions have now been eased, allowing visitors access to heritage sites.
The Statue of Unity was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his home state of Gujarat on October 31, 2018. It was a flagship project of the government, the Prime Minister and the Minister of Health. Interior Amit Shah highlighting its importance in commemorating Indian heritage.
Since its unveiling, 7.94 million people have visited the Statue of Unity so far, one of the officials said. “Before Covid-19 hit, 4.42 million people had visited it in less than 15 months. Since then, tourist numbers have been affected due to two closures and two restricted entry periods due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Since June 8, 2021, tourist attendance has even exceeded 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 to February 2020, near the time the first lockdown was imposed, 4,258 060 tourists visited the Statue of Unity, with a monthly average of 266,129. parking fees, from November 2018 to February 2020, are ₹116.31 crore,” Patel said.
“The Statue of Unity is one of the most visited sites right now, even in comparison with other popular tourist spots,” one of the officials quoted above said. “This place has become an international favorite family vacation destination where there are a few tourist attractions of interest to all age groups in addition to the Statue of Unity itself. If we don’t compare it to other religious tourist places, it has the highest tourist attendance in the country.