Breaking News
Friday , August 18 2017
Home / INDIA / Rajasthan tourism not able to attract many visitors

Rajasthan tourism not able to attract many visitors

Rajasthan tourism not able to attract many visitorsJAISALMER: Tourism in Rajasthan needs a shot in the arm with a campaign like Narendra Modi’s in Gujarat. ‘Khushboo Gujarat Ki’ campaign that marketed key destinations of the state immensely contributed to huge tourist influx in Gujarat with an increase of 54 lakh visitors in last two years. But things are quite contrary in Rajasthan.

Despite being an alluring destination replete with forts, palaces, havelis, lakes and the sand dunes, tourism is on the decline in the state because of lack of concern and focus by the government. Even though the department has a budget of Rs 10 crore approximately for marketing, tourism in Rajasthan is not doing well.

In the last several years the initiative to market tourism that contributes Rs 2,000 crore to the state economy has been obligatory, merely to exhaust the budget. If there is anything new in the sector, then it is new hotels, a private initiative. Given the increasingly important role that the sector played in the overall socio-economic development, the state government accorded an industry status to tourism from 1989. The government also announced a comprehensive tourism policy in 2001 that was to make tourism a focus sector. Beyond that absolutely nothing was done to improve infrastructure or facilitate private sector participation.

Ironically, the first and the only tourism project in Rajasthan under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode, after several years of glitches, is still awaiting Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation’s permission to operate. Ready since February 2013 with an investment of Rs 20 crore, the investor besides paying the committed lease money has lost business worth Rs 6 crore at 50% occupancy. Now would any stakeholder be interested in investing?

As a result of the lackadaisical approach in promoting tourism there has been a constant decline in arrival of tourists while the hotels have shot up to almost double. In the last three years over 35 new hotels have sprung up in Jaisalmer adding nearly 650 more rooms to the existing lot in all segments. Except Jodhpur all destinations are flooded with new hotels that are hard to market. Take Ranthambhore, “The number of hotel rooms available is twice as much that the park can handle. And several more are coming up,” said Balendu Singh, a hotelier. Similarly in Jaipur, in the last three years the room inventory has gone up from 3,000 to over 5,000. “Tourism has finished in Jaipur. There were no attempts by the government to promote the destination and ensure safety for the tourists. The hotels are struggling to survive,” said a hotelier.

Besides, infrastructure and air connectivity in the state is poor. “Hotel occupancy is totally at the mercy of domestic travellers. For the last five years focus on tourism was the last thing on the mind of the government. Even now there are no concrete steps to promote tourism. The infrastructure is abysmal, project allocation poor and the connectivity would make you think twice,” said Jitendra Singh Rathore, president Tourism Businessmen Federation.

Although Rajasthan has 19 airstrips and 128 helipads, regular commercial air services are operational only at Jaipur, Jodhpur and Udaipur. According to officials in the last financial year there were over 200 non-scheduled flights or charters to Jodhpur, nearly 45-70 to Jaisalmer and in the last two year 2,175 arrivals and 2,158 departures were handled from Jaipur.

Loading...

About editor