Ahmedabad: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday inaugurated the three-day International Kite Festival (IKF) 2014 at the Sabarmati riverfront here.
The BJP`s Prime Ministerial nominee said that the kite festival signifies love for nature, environment and tourism and a special energy is derived from such festivities.
Modi stressed on the importance of tourism and the need for India to keep pace with the developments across the world in strengthening tourism.
Highlighting that the kite market in 2001-02 was Rs 30-35 crore, Modi said it has today crossed Rs 500 crore and become a source of livelihood for the poorest of the poor.
He stressed on the need to integrate the local people with the tourism industry to enjoy better results.
School children, studying in municipal school in the city, performed `surya namaskar` while differently abled students exhibited a cultural performance.
Modi expressed satisfaction at the participation of municipal school children in performing `surya namaskar` and said it shows wonders the little children can do if they are given the opportunity.
Kite flyers from various countries and across India have thronged the riverfront to celebrate the festival.
Modi described Swami Vivekanand, whose birth anniversary is being celebrated today, as a source of immense inspiration and a revered figure who taught national unity through the medium of spirituality. He urged people to get inspired by Vivekanand`s message of serving the poor.
Tourism Minister Saurabh Patel said that while India`s tourism growth was seven per cent, Gujarat`s tourism growth was at 14 per cent.
Modi also greeted people of the country for Makar Sankranti and Uttarayan.