Rai Umraopati Ray
How has Rajasthan fared in terms of travel and tourism post-pandemic?
The pandemic situation was difficult for everyone and the tourism industry was one of the most affected segments. However, Rajasthan adopted an empathic approach under the leadership of our Chief Minister and supported the industry and the stakeholders. This helped the industry to bounce back to normalcy with greater rigour. We have accorded ‘Industry Status’ to the tourism sector which has helped the industry to get the benefits and revive at a faster pace.
We will very soon have a Rural Tourism policy in place, our Rajasthan Homestay Scheme is there along with Rajasthan Tourism Unit Policy. We have recently come up with Rajasthan Film Tourism Promotion Policy, which is boosting tourism in a big way. Rajasthan has several beautiful locations for film shootings. Therefore, with the right atmosphere and conducive policies, travel and tourism sectors have fared well, it has generated employment and has given a direct boost to the economy.
Rajasthan has always been seen as an exotic wedding destination, what are your plans to promote it as a MICE destination?
With normalcy returning, the wedding numbers are steadily increasing. We are focussing on promoting the state as a MICE destination. There are a number of good exhibition centres and a few are also coming up. We intend to have a policy platform too to promote new centres and soon we may come up with a new policy.
Is there a shift with a lot of focus on domestic tourism?
With international travel and tourist arrivals coming almost to a halt in the last two years, it was imperative to focus on domestic tourism. Fortunately, Rajasthan has always been very strong in attracting domestic travellers especially from nearby states. Post covid, Indians are travelling a lot, some are terming this as ‘revenge tourism’. Though it has a negative connotation, the fact of the matter is Indian travellers have become most sought after and Rajasthan is a preferred destination. At the same time, we are working towards getting the international numbers back on track, that is why we are at WTM, London.
What are your thoughts on Responsible Tourism, which is coming up in a big way post pandemic?
Rajasthan is one of the first few states to focus on ‘Responsible Tourism’. We have embraced it as a mission. We aim to reduce the environmental impact of tourism and promote sustainability.
Anything more you would like to share?
Rajasthan has a lot of tourism offerings. The state is rich in terms of history, heritage and culture. It has grandeur. It has rich hospitality, in fact we are known for this. At the same time, we are moving away from the stereotype, to cater to the needs of the young travellers. We have options for adventure tourism, experiential tourism and gastronomy continues to put our state on the map, so this year there is a focus on exceptional authentic experiences too.
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