Band, baja, baarat with light, camera and action revive tourism in R’sthan

Jaipur, Sep 18 (IANS)
As tourists come back to Rajasthan bringing smiles on the faces of several stakeholders hit hard by the pandemic in the last two years, the state tourism department also seems to be scripting a success story by taking innovative steps and turning challenges into opportunities in a short span of time.
State tourism has projected the desert state as a monsoon destination, brought industry status for the travel trade, announced night tourism in Rajasthan and has unveiled an attractive film tourism policy which was awaited for years.
And it has started paying off.
People from around the world have been making bookings for big, fat weddings in the desert state.
“Yes, it is true that tourism is seeing a revival. We are receiving bookings, inquiries for weddings. In fact, this time, there is also a surge in film shoots, shooting for OTT series and ad films here,” said Prithvi Singh, a prominent hotelier of the state.
“This time, the Rajasthan government has doled out many benefits for travel and trade. It has given industry status to the tourism and hospitality sector and has become the first state in the country to do so. Besides this, the state government recently unveiled an attractive film tourism promotion policy which has provisions to provide a subsidy up to Rs 2 crore for projects qualifying the laid down criteria. In addition, the policy also mentioned providing an exemption from all fees and charges at monuments and locations coming under forest irrigation, PWD, Local Bodies, Police and Devasthan, and all state government properties for film shoots,” said Apurva Kumar, president of the Federation of Hospitality and Tourism of Rajasthan (FHTR). “This is definitely benefitting tourism in the state,” he added.
Gajendra Luniwal, Hotel Association President of Jaipur, speaking to IANS confirmed, “Bookings have seen a revival in the state. The monsoon really went well and we were surprised to see a rise in tourists in summer as well when the mercury was soaring. Tourist numbers were also seen going up in Udaipur and Mt Abu.”
He was happy about the industry status for tourism but said that there needs to be more clarity on policy as budget hotels are yet to get their share.
Gayatri Rathore, principal secretary, Rajasthan Tourism, said, “The clauses have been made the easiest in industry status for stakeholders and there is nothing unclear in it.”
Speaking on the film tourism policy, she said, “The main objective of the policy is to establish Rajasthan as the most film-friendly state and for film shoots. It will also promote film production in the Rajasthani language and create employment related to the film industry in the state.”
Rajasthan chief secretary Usha Sharma confirmed, “The revival of the tourism sector has been great after going through a difficult time due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Even in the months of April, May and June, increasingly more and more domestic tourists were seen travelling to different parts of the country. It is for the first time that a budget of Rs 1000 crore has been allotted by the Rajasthan government for tourism. Of this Rs 600 crore has been earmarked for infrastructure development and Rs 400 crore for marketing and branding,” she added.
With the tourist surge in Rajasthan, domestic footfalls have surpassed the pre-Covid numbers.
Till June-end, 36.48 million domestic tourists visited the state compared to 22.36 million in the first six months of 2019 which was the normal year before the pandemic began in 2020, confirmed tourism officials.

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