Interview: Gayatri Rathore, Principal Secretary, Rajasthan Tourism

Rajasthan aims to surpass 2 million international tourists in 2024


March 20, 2024

/ By / Berlin

Interview: Gayatri Rathore, Principal Secretary, Rajasthan Tourism

Rajasthan Tourism is back in international tourism fairs such as ITB Berlin

Three years after the Covid-19 pandemic, international tourists are flocking again to Rajasthan, Gayatri Rathore, Principal Secretary Tourism, Rajasthan, tells Media India Group. Rathore adds she aims to surpass 2 million international arrivals in Rajasthan in current year.

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How is Rajasthan fairing in terms of international tourism?

Rajasthan tourism fortunately was able to bounce back in the post-pandemic scenario. Since 2022 we have received a very good response from the inbound travellers and the year 2023 was very good in terms of inbound tourism, because we got almost 1.8 million international tourists visiting Rajasthan.  The state has always been one of the favourite destinations in the Asian region because of its rich cultural heritage, its majestic landscape and its fairs and festivals and all the colourful things that the state has to offer. So we are quite hopeful that the current season will also be again very good for tourism.

In terms of revival of the European traffic to Rajasthan, which are the key countries?

We have been getting tourists from the UK, France, Spain, Germany, and other Eastern European countries as well. So we have tied up with many international publications and platforms which are showing films on Rajasthan tourism in their own languages. We are open to all sorts of new ways of promoting and marketing Rajasthan in international markets.

In terms of tourists, what’s new that Rajasthan is offering them?

A group of Rajasthani camel traders with their herd of camels at Pushkar Camel Fair

Rajasthan fortunately has become a 365-day destination definitely for international tourists. The summer months might not be that comfortable and this is the age of experiential tourism. So there are tourists who want to come and experience the heat of Rajasthan to see how people survive, in that also we are getting a lot of queries.

Also, experiential tourism in terms of living the rural lifestyle, in terms of living with the artisans and experiencing the way the economy, how they bring up their children, how they look after the cattle, and how the entire ecosystem works. The same is true with the younger generation and tourists want to come to Rajasthan again and again and see a different part of our state every time. So sometimes it is adventure tourism, sometimes it is spiritual tourism, sometimes it is fairs and festivals. It is a very comprehensive bouquet of choices that we are offering to the tourists.

From which overseas markets do you attract visitors during off-peak season or summers?

The  good thing is that now we are receiving tourists from all over the world and we have people visiting us from Europe, the Middle East, United States, Canada and other countries. Also, as we say for India that one lifetime is not enough to experience the magic that is India, the same can be said for Rajasthan because it has got such diverse products and we are also focussing on sustainable and responsible tourism that tells tourists that they should not simply go and come back, but you stay there, experience there, give back something to the society, to the community and take good memories. So in that context, it is becoming a very preferred destination.

What does Rajasthan offer for adventure tourism?

We have got many wildlife sanctuaries, nature parks and we have also developed many eco trails and  biking trails. Moreover, the western part of the state, which has the Thar Desert has become very popular for tourists who like to explore the destination by road and we receive many biking groups who come to explore the desert landscapes on their motorcycles. In addition, we have other areas that offer different experiences like water sports in the Chambal River area and other areas with all sorts of air sports and activities like paragliding and  parasailing. So there are many new products that we are offering which have proven to be very popular with tourists.

Are you communicating B2B and B2C?

We are focusing on B2C because we are reaching out directly to the travellers because now everyone is very conscious and they are guided by their own instincts and their own preferences rather than being told by some tour operator. So in this age of the digital era where everything you have on your fingertips, reaching out to B2C is more and more important.

What is your target for 2024? 

The colourful puppets are a highlight of Rajasthani culture

Sky is the limit, but definitely, we will cross 2 million for international tourists this year and domestically we have already crossed 180 million so that might go to 190 million to 200 million this year.

What are your expectations for the GITB travel fair that you are organising?

Well, to attract international tour operators, we are organising the GITB from May 5-7 in Jaipur, and this is going to be the 14th edition of GITB. For the past 13 years we have been holding it and this is a very strong platform for B2B. And also when it is an example of a public-private partnership, where the Rajasthan Ministry of Tourism, FICCI, the Hospitality Partners, the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, all come together on one platform and this year we are focusing on showcasing Rajasthan and India as the most preferred place for weddings, so our focus is destination weddings being organised in Rajasthan.



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