Being one of the prime tourist destinations in India, Rajasthan received nearly 7 million international and 330 million domestic visitors last fiscal year. With tourism increasing at the yearly rate of 5-7 pc in the state, Rajasthan inaugurated the eighth edition of its annual travel and trade fair – Great Indian Travel Bazaar – from April 17-19, in the presence of the chief guest and chief minister of Rajasthan, Vasundhara Raje.
The heritage, culture and hospitality of Rajasthan have always attracted tourists, both domestic and international, increasing at the rate of 5-7 pc per year. According to the figures shared by Shalendra Agarwal, principal secretary of tourism, Rajasthan, nearly 7 million tourists from abroad and 330 million domestic tourists visited Rajasthan last fiscal. Of the foreign tourists United States stays ahead, followed by European countries such as United Kingdom, Germany and France. Apart from heritage, Rajasthan is also popular for rural tourism, responsible tourism, craft tourism, volunteer tourism etc.
To continue its position as one of the top tourism destinations in India, the state organises Great Indian Travel Bazaar, a B2B travel fair. Addressing at the inaugural of the eighth edition of Travel Bazaar, from April 17-19, at The Lalit hotel in Jaipur, chief guest and chief minister of Rajasthan, Vasundhara Raje, said, “the ‘Rajasthan Tourism Product’ will be marketed aggressively across the globe.” A large number of foreign tour operators, travel agents and Indian sellers of tourism products were present on the occasion.
The international mart has been organised by the Department of Tourism, Government of Rajasthan, the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI). It is supported by leading national and regional associations like Hotel & Restaurant Association of Rajasthan (HRAR), Indian Heritage Hotels Association (IHHA) and Rajasthan Association of Tour Operators (RATO). The exhibition was inaugurated in the presence of the Vinod Zutshi, tourism secretary, government of India, Dr Jyotsna Suri, chairperson of the FICCI tourism committee, at the Jaipur Exhibition and Convention Centre (JECC) at Sitapura in Jaipur.
Pilgrims, an important component
The chief minister, who invited the trade and industries members to take Rajasthan tourism to all the corners of the world, informed that the state has launched a multi modal and multi lingual tourism campaign that aims to upsurge domestic and foreign tourists to Rajasthan.
New circuits and new events are being added to add value to the experience of the tourists. “Pilgrims is an important component of domestic travellers. The temple circuits are being further improved in terms of tourist amenities, cleanliness and connectivity,” she informed.
Expressing her satisfaction over the Tourism Unit Policy 2015 that was launched last year to boost tourism and ease the setting up of tourism related projects, Raje said, “Thereafter the Tourism Department has signed 220 MoUs worth more than INR 100 billion for setting up new tourism units. Once they come on ground they will provide employment to 40,000 persons.”
The desert circuit
Zutshi in his key note said that India has registered a growth of 13 pc in domestic tourism in 2015 and the government aims to increase it to 15 percent by 2018. Notably, the union ministry is promoting a number of schemes in Rajasthan such as the Desert Circuit for INR 650 million and Ajmer- Pushkar project worth INR 400 million. Similarly, the state will stand to benefit by way of spiritual and pan India thematic circuits like Buddhism, Ramayana and Krishna being developed by the Union Tourism Ministry.
Suri, who was also the former president of FICCI, in her welcome address pointed that the foreign tourist arrivals in India grew by 4.4 pc and the exchange earnings by 2.3 pc. ”This growth that the country witnesses goes to show that India is moving forward as an inbound destination,” she said. She appreciated the keen interest of both the buyers and sellers in the GITB that has emerged as the leading inbound tourism mart in the country.
Agarwal, while addressing, informed the gathering that the Rajasthan government is planning to organise a Domestic Travel Mart on the lines of GITB for domestic buyers, sellers and tour operators by August.