Luxebook July 2023

BY PAYEL MAJUMDAR UPRETI The state, rich in history and culture, remains a pioneer in attracting tourists from across the world Rajasthan a thought leader in the tourism sector SPECIAL FEATURE Rajasthan has always been a top destination for tourism, thanks to its rich culture, history, and architecture. The state is a part of the ‘Golden Triangle Circuit’ and has captured everyone’s imagination with its food, culture, history, and the grand fairytale wedding destinations that it has become famous for. Only recently, Udaipur was voted in the second place in the ‘Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards’ 25 most favourite cities in the world’ by Travel + Leisure USA, a much-awaited popular choice award by its readers. According to official data, Rajasthan has witnessed a steady year-on-year growth in tourist footfall, wherein the first half of the current year, 36.48 million domestic tourists visited Rajasthan, 63% higher than the pre-pandemic period of the year 2019. In the first half of 2019, the state hosted 8.46 lakh foreign tourists as well. The state offers a range of tourism experiences, including iconic landmarks, heritage sites, special heritage villages or craft villages and experiential tourism. Rajasthan also caters to those seeking luxury and grandeur, with opulent palaces and heritage hotels that make it an ideal place for destination weddings and high-end tourism. Both domestic and international travellers find themselves captivated by Rajasthan’s vibrant culture, history, and festivities. The state attracts history and culture enthusiasts who are captivated by its magnificent forts, palaces and ancient temples, immersing themselves in Rajasthan’s rich heritage through heritage walks and cultural events. Architecture and art enthusiasts are drawn to the intricate carvings, frescoes and impressive craftsmanship displayed in the havelis, stepwells and Jain temples. Dr Rashmi Sharma, Director of Tourism Nature and wildlife lovers flock to Rajasthan’s diverse landscapes, from the Aravallis to the Thar Desert, and wildlife sanctuaries like Ranthambore and Sariska. Spiritual and pilgrim travellers find solace in sacred sites like Pushkar, Ajmer, and Nathdwara. It is the diversity and richness of experiences that makes Rajasthan a preferred choice for tourists of all demographics, ensuring that every visitor finds something that resonates with their interests and preferences. LuxeBook caught up with Dr Rashmi Sharma, Director of Tourism, to discuss the state’s potential for tourism, the recent recognition of the sector as an industry and the state government’s initiative to promote tourism and hospitality in Rajasthan. In what ways has the state been a thought leader in terms of promoting tourism? Rajasthan has established itself as a thought leader in promoting tourism through its innovative strategies, policies, and initiatives. We have been focusing aggressively on enhancing tourism infrastructure, investing in popular destinations like Jaipur, Udaipur and Jodhpur, and developing lesser-known locations such as Mount Abu, Ajmer-Pushkar, Sariska, and Ranthambore as weekend tourism destinations. This diversification of offerings has not only spread economic benefits but also positioned Rajasthan as a pioneer in tourism promotion. Rajasthan was the first state in the country to introduce a new Tourism Policy during the pandemic, aiming to make it the “Most Visible State” and achieve a prominent position among the top five states in terms of tourist arrivals. This forward-thinking approach has set Rajasthan apart as a leader in tourism promotion. Furthermore, granting ‘Industry Status’ to the tourism and hospitality sector showcases Rajasthan’s strong commitment to promote tourism and creating an environment that is conducive to the industry’s growth and development. By positioning cities like Jaipur, Udaipur and Jaisalmer as premier wedding destinations, Rajasthan has captured the imagination of the population with its opulence, traditional practices and romance. The certification of pre-1950 buildings as ‘Heritage Properties’ by the Department of Tourism preserves cultural heritage and promotes them as unique venues for royal weddings, film shoots, and luxurious accommodations for tourists. The state has introduced activities like boating, ATV rides, and mountaineering through public-private partnership initiatives, enhancing the overall travel experience. The state’s focus on sustainability and eco-tourism is evident through its eco-tourism policy, emphasizing conservation, communitybased tourism, and collaborations with UNESCO for cultural preservation. 8|LUXEBOOK|JULY 2023 JULY 2023 |LUXEBOOK|9