The royal state of Rajasthan, which is popular with both domestic and international tourists, has seen rapid strides in development in the recent past. Moving forward to the next phase of growth, the state’s government is now exploring new tourism areas, shifting the spotlight on rural tourism.
Rural Tourism Policy to aid communities and preserve culture
“Both the geography and economy of Rajasthan are tourism-based. We have forts and palaces, unmatched culture and heritage, handicrafts, diverse traditional dances and music like no other and these have been attracting tourists to Rajasthan for years. Keeping in mind their immense potential with a thought of preserving the local communities, the state government, under the patronage of CM Ashok Gehlot has decided to develop rural tourism to its best of potential,” stated Dharmendra Rathore, Chairman, Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation (RTDC).
“Our first step in that direction is Vagad Tourist Circuit and the work to identify the tribal districts for tourism has already started. These include the districts of Banswara, Dungarpur and Pratapgarh,” he added.
Second and the most significant, according to Rathore, is the ‘Rural Tourism Policy’ that is in the final stages of its completion and is expected to come out during the next budget.
Emphasising the importance of formalising this policy, he said that this would majorly help in giving wide publicity to the rural areas, offering employment to their people, especially the youth as well as preserving their culture, traditions, local handicrafts and more. Additionally, the development of guest houses as well as hotels in the rural districts would reduce the burden on city accommodation.
The Chief Minister has also set up a tourism development fund to support rural infrastructure in the villages, Rathore said and added that besides the development of these villages, tourist infrastructures such as road connectivity and wayside amenities will also be improved. “This would further increase investment opportunities in rural areas,” highlighted Rathore.
INR 1000 crore development fund
Informing that CM Gehlot has made a provision of INR 1000 crore as tourism development fund in the state, out of which INR 600 crore is allocated just for the infrastructural development and INR 400 crore for tourism branding and marketing, Rathore foresees a revolution in Rajasthan’s tourism.On the developmental front, he added that Kota’s Chambal Riverfront, which is an INR 3,000 crore project, is expected to be completed in the next six months. The groundwork for building a huge tourist complex has also started in Jaisalmer.
“There will be a big boom in the tourism sector of Rajasthan and opportunities in the nearing times look as bright as the state’s aura,” Rathore added.
Lauding the efforts of the state government in the last four years to foster tourism, the RTDC Chairman said that remarkable decisions have been taken by the CM to give ‘industry’ status to tourism and hospitality. In that direction, the government has also started work on restoring the RTDC hotels to their former glory.
“A huge boom has come from this decision and we are expecting this to continue as and when the hotels are ready to welcome the guests,” said Rathore.
To name a few, Jhoomar Baori in Sawai Madhopur, Hotel Sarovar in Pushkar, Hotel Gokul in Nathdwara and Hotel Lake Palace Siliserh in Alwar are currently being developed.
Rajasthan Film Tourism Promotion Policy 2022
Speaking about the other important tourism-related policies that have been put into action, Rathore highlighted Rajasthan Film Tourism Promotion Policy 2022 which was recently formalised and has rolled out financial incentives.
According to the policy document, a subsidy of up to INR 2 crore, or 15 per cent of the total Qualified Cost of Production (QCOP) whichever is lower, would be provided for the shooting of films in Rajasthan. The state government will also waive all fees and changes at all state-owned properties and a 50 per cent discount (up to INR 10 Lakh max) would be offered at RTDC/RSHC hotels under the policy.
An online single window clearance system has been created to provide a single-point interface and time-bound clearance mechanism for filmmakers intending to shoot in Rajasthan, the document stated.
Rathore further shared that this policy was also made available for investors at the recently held Invest Rajasthan Summit-2022 in Jaipur.
Finding it as the right platform to discuss prospects and development opportunities, the Rajasthan Government also organised a Tourism Conclave under the Summit, which was attended by the ministers, senior officers and experts and industry leaders.
As informed by Rathore, the event was a huge success with key MoUs worth INR 5000 crore signed just under tourism.