Rajasthan Tourism: Contribution to economy and new initiatives by state government

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Endowed with natural beauty and a great history, tourism is a flourishing industry in Rajasthan. State contributed to over 20% of India’s Foreign Tourist Arrivals (2013-14) and over 36.6 million tourists visited Rajasthan in 2015. Rajasthan also forms part of India’s golden triangle, a tourist circuit which connects the national capital Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. The second largest city in Rajasthan, Jodhpur is among the top 10 preferred destinations that travellers have on their wishlists for the upcoming year, a recent study has revealed.

Contribution of Tourism in Rajasthan’s Economy:

  • Tourism accounts for approximately 15 per cent of the Rajasthan’s economy and provides economic benefits like foreign exchange earnings, regional development, infrastructure development and promotion of local handicrafts.
  • In Rajasthan, tourism accounts for 2.7% (5.2% after adding indirect effects) in Gross State Domestic Product and 1.9% (7.2% after adding indirect effects) in state employment.
  • Tourism has a significant multiplier effect on the state economy. It increases employment opportunities, generating revenue, developing infrastructure, increasing investment opportunities and revival of traditions and heritage conservation and management . It is estimated that every rupee spent by a tourist changes hands 13 times and that every hotel room generates direct employment to three persons and indirect employment to eight persons.
  • In Rajasthan, tourism is the third largest employer after agriculture and textiles sector
  • Tourism Industry is more gender neutral as compared to other Industries and women account for 65% of the international tourism workforce. For Rajasthan also tourism sector provides enabling platform for increasing labour force participation rate.

Types of Tourism in Rajasthan:

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State Government Initiatives

Government of Rajasthan has vision of doubling (present 1.5 million to 3.0 million tourists) the footfall of International Tourists traffic by the year 2020. In the same period, the Government also aims to increasing the Domestic Tourist traffic from the present 33 million to 50 million tourists. Consequently, various initiatives have been taken by Rajasthan Government to improve state of tourism in Rajasthan, including:

1. PPP in Tourism Sector:

Rajasthan Government has identified various projects to be developed in public private participation mode in tourism sector.

  • Water based activities like cruise and boating in Chambal and other water bodies.
  • ATVs (All Terrain Vehicles) in sand dunes of Jaisalmer / Barmer / Bikaner
  • Mountaineering and Trekking activities in Mount Abu/Jaipur
  • Establishment of Golf Resorts and Convention centers.
  • Night viewing of monuments at Jaipur, Udaipur, Jaisalmer, Bharatpur, Chittorgarh.
  • Development of eco-tourism in various places in state.
  • Development of tourism at Sambhar & Jaisamand lake

2. Promotion of Agri-tourism (Read Article: Here)

3. Promotion of Eco-tourism in Rajasthan

The Government of Rajasthan notified Rajasthan’s Eco-tourism policy in 2010. This policy has been framed with a view to sensitize the public , government departments, NGOs and others about eco-tourism and for laying down the framework for its growth in the State in a sustainable manner. Sunda Mata temple in Jalore district, Bassi in Chittorgarh district, Kumbhalgarh in Rajsamand district, Hamirgarh and Menal, both in Bhilwara district have been developed as per guidelines of eco-tourism

4. Government to Government partnerships 

  • Rajasthan Government engagement with Singapore has led to a direct flight and a skill development centre for hospitality.

5. Holding fairs and festivals:

Department of Tourism, Rajasthan is engaged in organization of various fairs and festivals to promote tourism in state. Fairs organized in Rajasthan include:

  • Nagaur Fair, Nagaur (Jan-Feb.)
  • Kite Festival (held on 14th Jan of every year)
  • Desert Festival, Jaisalmer (Jan-Feb.)
  • Baneshwar Fair, Baneshwar (Jan-Feb.)
  • Gangaur Festival, Jaipur (March-April)
  • Mewar Festival, Udaipur (March-April)
  • Elephant Festival, Jaipur (March-April)
  • Urs Ajmer Sharif, Ajmer (According to Lunar Calendar)
  • Summer Festival, Mt.Abu (June)
  • Teej Festival, Jaipur (July-August)
  • Kajli Teej, Bundi (July-August)
  • Dussehra Festival, Kota (October)
  • Marwar Festival, Jodhpur (October)
  • Bundi Festival, Bundi (November)
  • Pushkar Fair, Ajmer (November)
  • Matsya Utsav, Alwar (November)
  • Kumbhalgarh Festival, Rajasamand (December)
  • Winter Festival, Mt. Aby (December)
  • Camel Festival, Bikaner (January)

6. Policy incentives:

Rajasthan Government also provides various policy incentives for development of tourist infrastructure including hotels, convention centers, tourist places.

  • Incentives available for establishment of Hotels in Rajasthan (Read more: here)
  • Regional Connectivity Scheme to improve intra-state air connectivity. (Read Post: here)
  • Development of a ‘Mega Desert Tourist Circuit’ comprising Bikaner, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Pali, Mount Abu and Sambhar.

7. Rajasthan Tourism 3.0

Rajasthan tourism 3.0  is a multiyear, multi-modal, multi narrative and multi-crore global campaign to galvanize tourism in the state. Rajasthan Tourism 1.0 lasted from Independence till the early 80s and was powered by Rajasthan’s landscape. Rajasthan Tourism 2.0 began in the 1980s with heritage hotels that married historical narrative with commercial hardware. But Rajasthan Tourism 3.0 ­ is government’s goal of 50 million foreign and domestic tourists ­ based on enhancement of Rajasthan’s current literature, music and folk festivals with new museums, exhibits and events, strong enough for tourists to plan itineraries around them.

8. Marketing Campaign:

Rajasthan Government has launched a new aggressive campaign with tagline “Jaane Kya Dikh Jaaye” to market state among tourists. The campaign developed by Ogilvy consists of six films and development of the new logo of Rajasthan Tourism.

9. Promotion of Religious Tourism:

  • Rajasthan Government has decided to renovate 11 religious sites to promote religious tourism in state.

10. Rajasthan Tourism Unit Policy

In a bid to attract more tourists and ease the setting up of tourism-related projects, Rajasthan  revamped its tourism unit policy in 2015. Highlights of policy are:

  • Investment Subsidy of 50% of VAT and CST which have become due and have 19 Rajasthan Tourism Unit Policy 2015 been deposited by the enterprise for seven years
  • Employment Generation Subsidy up to 10% of VAT and CST which have become due and have been deposited by the enterprise, for seven years
  • Reimbursement of 25% of amount of VAT paid on purchase of plant and machinery or equipment for a period up to seven years from the date of issuance of the entitlement certificate
  • Exemption from payment of 50% of Entertainment Tax for seven years
  • Exemption from payment of 100% of Luxury Tax for seven years
  • Land allotment in urban and rural areas at DLC rates
  • 25% additional exemption from payment of stamp duty chargeable on the instrument of purchase or lease of more than 100 years old heritage property in the State, for the purpose of hotel development under the Scheme declared by the Tourism Department
  • 50% additional exemption from payment of conversion charges for heritage property converted into a heritage hotel.
  • All fiscal benefits to tourism units and heritage hotels will be as per Rajasthan Investment Promotion Scheme, 2014.

11. Development of Ajmer under Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spirituality Augmentation Drive (PRASAD) & Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY) Scheme

Conclusion:

Rajasthan continues to face challenges that impede its growth as a tourist destination. The state needs to improve on the sanitation of its public spaces and the ease of travel around the state so as to add to its international appeal. The state should also consider providing more online payment and reservation services as more tourists are resorting to using the internet to plan and book their holidays in India.

Additional Reading:

  • Rajasthan Tourism Government initiatives (PDF)
  • Rajasthan tourism unit policy (PDF)