Ahmedabad: Gujarat's famous International Kite Festival is not just about kite-flying, but about multi-crore business opportunity for the people from the state.
Apart from the cultural significance, the festival is providing employment to many in the state.
There are families, who are completely dependent on the kite business. These families start manufacturing kites several months before the festival.
According to a 2012 survey, the kite manufacturing industry was worth Rs 175 crores and around 30,000 people were employed. Gradually this number has grown.
In the year 2017-18, this industry had developed a worth of Rs 625 crores. According to an estimated figure, around 1,28,000 people were associated with the kite industry in Gujarat.
Gujarat has a 40 per cent stake in the kite industry in the country and it employs about 1.28 lakh people. The Kite Festival is helping many local artisans and small traders to expand their business, thereby boosting the local economy.
Seeing the economic potential of this festival, the Gujarat government has taken many steps to provide impetus to the kite industry.
Jenu Devan, general manager of the Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Ltd told IANS: "We are satisfied with the data on the kite business from the Gujarat State Kite Festival. In sports and games, such large scale income sources do not come out quickly. The kite industry in the state has actually become the backbone of our (Gujarat State Tourism Corporation Limited) economy."
Nilesh Shukla, Joint Director Gujarat State Government, told IANS: "The Gujarat Tourism Ministry has also found good employment opportunities through many other activities at the Kite Festival. For example, food stalls, handicraft shops and cultural events, etc. If there is an increase in the treasury of the state government, then the residents of the state can be employed easily. All this has also been possible due to this kite festival.
"The Kite Festival has given a boost to the kite business in Gujarat. Foreign tourists are also making this famous in their own countries. This in itself is also the most successful way to promote the state's tourism internationally," added Shukla.
A total of 115 kite-flyers from 43 countries were participating in the ongoing kite festival. Apart from this, 153 well-known kite-flyers from different states of the country were also participating. "Due to the presence of all these, the Sabarmati Riverfront of Ahmedabad has become a kind of temporary home for the indigenous and foreign tourists," Divan told IANS.