TravTalk - India

Gearing up for the big leap

- Nisha Verma

Wedding tourism turned out to be a game-changer for Rajasthan during the pandemic, and now the state is pushing for border tourism, experienti­al tourism and also bringing in a film incentive policy among things to bring more revenue for the state coffers.

Claiming that being the largest state of the country gives a vantage point to Rajasthan, Dr Punita Singh, Joint Director, Department of Tourism, Government of Rajasthan, said that most attraction­s are positioned at different places, particular­ly the heritage properties, which are all spread out across the state.

“All these properties are in remote villages or far off places. This puts us in an advantageo­us position. In the new normal, people like to travel to quiet resorts or places little away from the city, looking at experience­s close to nature. Hence, apart from heritage, for which Rajasthan is known for, in the new normal it proves advantageo­us that these properties are being sought after more. Wellness resorts have also come up. Indian government is also marketing these places. Hence, Rajatshan is focusing more on experienti­al tourism,” she said. Reposition­ing Rajasthan

Singh revealed that Rajasthan came up with their new tourism policy in 2020 amid the COVID lockdowns and the waves. “The policy focuses on enhancing our product experience and experienti­al tourism, under which we majorly look at heritage properties, resort experience­s and vast experience­s, which Rajasthan offers. One of the new products that has emerged owing to lockdown guidelines is wedding tourism, which has become a big component now. Earlier considered a luxury segment with only celebrity weddings at palace hotels, but now it is common. People with lower budgets are also going for destinatio­n weddings or resort weddings with 200-250 guests,” she claimed.

I feel this (industry status) is a milestone for Rajasthan tourism and the state as a whole, which would benefit greatly

Promotions galore

Right after the first lockdown, Rajasthan came up with COVID guidelines for the tourists, which were predominan­tly domestic. “We started a campaign called Rajasthan from home. Initially, we were visible on our social media platforms and we did a lot of engaging activities, like best of the chef, photograph­y competitio­n and videograph­y competitio­n for people who had already travelled. Post lockdown opening, restrictio­ns started coming down, and the surge of domestic tourism was so much that all our properties, both in private and public sector were full. We were the number one state in SAATHI guidelines as we did the certificat­ion for proper hygiene. Thus, some of our destinatio­ns like, Udaipur, Jaipur, Mount Abu, did not have rooms,” she informed.

Saying that she is proud and happy to share that the Chief Minister of Rajasthan has given tourism industry status in the latest budget announceme­nt. “I feel this is a milestone for Rajasthan tourism and the state as a whole which would benefit greatly," she said. Millennial focus

Singh believes that like Rajasthan, other states should also focus on millennial­s. “They can offer new experience­s like adventure tourism, cycling, or other activities. For any small event happening anywhere, should be marketed well, so that people would go and see. Just like we are a land of fairs and festivals, which can be promoted and yes infrastruc­ture is very important. We are also focusing more on our budgets and allocation­s for the tourism infrastruc­ture, which helps the local people too. Other states can also work on film tourism. Rajasthan, despite being a natural winner in film tourism sector, we are coming with the film incentive policy very soon to give a healthy competitio­n to rest of the states,” she claimed.

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 ?? ?? Dr Punita Singh Joint Director at Department of Tourism, Government of Rajasthan
Dr Punita Singh Joint Director at Department of Tourism, Government of Rajasthan
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