The majestic royalty that the region of Rajasthan is brimming with is not hidden from anyone – its palaces, forts, havelis and extremely warm hospitality makes it an ideal tourism destination. However, the destination is also blessed to be run by officials who believe in continuously adding to its splendid offerings in form of destination, hotel or experience. Mr. Sanjay Pande, Additional Director (Development), Department of Tourism, Government of Rajasthan, at the recently concluded IATO Convention, spoke exclusively to BOTT about the “latest offerings” of Rajasthan.
Rajasthan is blessed with rich culture and heritage and 78 per cent of India’s heritage hotels. As a tourist destination, the state never disappoints anyone, a testimony of which is the fact that it witnessed over 5 crore tourist arrivals in the year 2018. Sharing these figures with us, Sanjay Pande, said, “I am glad to share that UNESCO and Rajasthan government have joined hands to promote music, art and various forms of craft along with other intangible cultural heritage of the state to spur socio-economic growth of several artist communities with a view to move people towards rural tourism, which is a very strong springboard for us, for tourism expansion in terms of handicrafts and culture.”
Elaborating further he said, “In addition to the development of rural tourism, another latest offering by Rajasthan is the Sambar Salt Lake area, which was a development project done under Ministry of Tourism’s SWADESH infrastructure and is now complete – awaiting exploration. Located just 50 km from Jaipur, it is the only Salt Lake in the country. A lot of new and unusual experiential activities have been developed which can be undertaken around Sambar as it’s an unexplored weekend destination. All facilities have been put in place here.” Delightful visuals and a small video of this new and amazing offering by Rajasthan Tourism was also shared with the delegates present at the convention in Kolkata.
The region of Barmer in Rajasthan, which is also called as mini Dubai in terms of oil production, will soon play host to one of the biggest refineries in the country, construction of which has already started. “We are also looking at promoting petro-tourism so that people come and see how the oil is extracted and then when refinery comes in place they can see how it is taken to the refinery and finally, processed into a final product,” he said.
Illuminating on the hospitality sector in Rajasthan, he said, “The job of the government is to look at the basic groundwork, which is taken care of by the department of tourism, i.e. the capital expenditure for putting up of infrastructure and then for management of these properties, we bring in the private partners.”
He further went on to share that besides this, the government has also launched a scheme under which those parties who are coming up with new tourism hotels and projects in the state need not seek prior approval for the initial three years of construction. “Now, for hoteliers, there is no requirement for any permission and approval for the first three years of their project. The older procedure of first taking approval first and then starting construction has been completely abandoned. However, care must be taken that to avoid the after construction hassle, the investor must work within the stipulated guidelines. This indeed will act as a major boost for tourism industry,” he concludes.