Rajasthan is one of the most popular tourist destinations in India, for both domestic and international tourists. The Land of colors -“ Rajasthan “, India’s largest state occupying almost 3,42,239 square kilometers, almost 10 % of lands of the country. It is located on the northwest of the country, comprising of inhospitable Thar Desert. Thar Desert is also known as the “Great Indian Desert”.
Rajasthan attracts tourists for its historical forts, palaces, art and culture. Tourism makes a large contribution to the economy of Rajasthan in India. Every third foreign tourist visiting India also travels to Rajasthan as it is part of the Golden Triangle for tourists visiting India. Recent hike in the figures of tourists to Rajasthan in India has proved that tourism is a vital source of income for the state of Rajasthan.
A recent study showed that from every single tourist around 13 people profits directly or indirectly. Local transporters, hotels, shopkeepers, monuments, museums, guide and tour operators are just a few who survive through tourists. If proper efforts are taken, then 30% of the total population of Rajasthan can live from tourism. Rural tourism of Rajasthan could bring enormous wealth to the villages of Rajasthan.
Looking at facilitating investments in tourism sector, Rajasthan government had organised a ‘Research in Rajasthan’ programme in mid-November, 2015. According to recent study, in the financial year 2005-06, Rajasthan allocated 0.29% of its budget to tourism. Since then the plan outlay for tourism has been declining, reaching a mere 0.11% in 2013-14 budget.
The colorful desert state accounted for 29% of total foreign tourists visiting India in 2005 but the share plunged to 20.60% in 2013. The annual report of the tourism department shows that out of the Rs 42 crore allotted to the sector in 2013-14, the government has been able to spend only Rs 18 crore. In 2006, 11.93 million domestic tourists visited Gujarat. Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh received 23.48 million and 11.06 million visitors respectively in the same year.
“Amitabh Bachchan promoting Gujarat tourism is a master stroke. The state was never a force to reckon with when it came to tourism. It’s time for Rajasthan to think of promoting the state to attract the domestic tourism which has lot of potential,” said Abhimanyu Alsisar of Alsisar Hotels.
Looking at facilitating investments in tourism sector, Rajasthan government is organizing a ‘Research in Rajasthan’ programme in mid-November, 2015. The ongoing two-day event of The Great Indian Travel Bazaar (GITB), organised by the Department of Tourism, Rajasthan government, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) is witnessing participation from 277 foreign buyers from 45 countries and 199 exhibitors.
Highlighting the state tourism statistics, Vasundhara Raje, Chief Minister of Rajasthan mentioned that the tourism sector in Rajasthan will see a major surge by 2018. “By 2018, we expect the foreign tourist arrivals to reach 2.5 million from the current 1.5 million and the domestic traffic to be around 50 million from the present 30 million.”