Rajasthan Celebrates “Tourism & Rural Development”
Celebrating the quest for travel, the World Tourism Day returns on September 27 this year amid pandemic situation with theme of “Tourism and Rural Development”. Being observed worldwide the theme also compliments the vision of Rajasthan government’s new tourism policy that too keeps Rural and Roots tourism in focus. The policy provisions for innovative tourism products and services with focus on lesser known destinations especially in rural areas. Chief Minister of Rajasthan Ashok Gehlot has also directed towards promoting tourism in villages as means to improving rural economy.
The tourism sector has been worst hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and is striving for revival, amid the critical situation and needs even more infrastructure support. The Rajasthan Tourism Policy 2020, too has provision in the direction. While promoting new investments in development of new tourist venues, the policy focuses on strengthening infrastructure support and improving road, rail and air connectivity. There is also an added emphasis on safety and security of the tourists during their visit to the state. The policy thus has been creating a conducive environment for enabling the Tourism sector in state. Promoting local Craft and Cuisine has also been made part of the policy.
“Across the world, COVID19 has impacted livelihoods of millions of people related to travel and tourism. Rajasthan Government is effectively working to mitigate its affect in the state, the new tourism policy and other initiatives of the government are offering support to the industry. As the situation eases and India passes through unlock phases, the facilities for the visitors need to be revamped and align with new normal,” says Mr. Alok Gupta, Principal Secretary Tourism, Government of Rajasthan.
The state government has offered several relief for existing tourism businesses in consideration of the COVID impact. There tourism department has meanwhile also formed strategies to ensure safe tourism amid the contemporary circumstances by issuing SOP’s. The tourist destinations and monuments are not only being sanitized regularly, the managing staff and authorities have also being sensitized towards ensuring social distancing and other measures on the tourist destinations. There has also been an added emphasis on ‘social awareness’ and ‘hygiene’ in the new policy. To develop cleanliness and hygiene at tourist destinations, social awareness campaigns and projects for benchmarking cleanliness standards at various monuments, wildlife parks 20 and other tourist places will be formulated.
The state government in wake of the COVID situation has already declared reimbursement of the State GST share to hotels and restaurants, the motor vehicle tax has been relaxed for travel vehicles of more than 22 people capacity and relaxations have been given in renewal of bar licenses. In order to allow business to operate in safe environment the tourism department has issued standard operating procedures for hotels, restaurants and film shooting in the state. In addition to the COVID relief and safety measures, the department has also been working in direction towards skill development, strengthening of Tourist Protection Force, promoting Tourist start-ups and other experiential tourism initiatives.