World Tourism Day 2020: World Tourism Day this year is not the usual one due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic situation in India and all over the world. While Covid-19 has hit the tourism industry very hard, governments and other agencies have been working on policies to attract tourists by assuring full-proof safety against the highly contagious disease.
Rajasthan government’s tourism department has formed strategies to ensure safe tourism amid the contemporary circumstances by issuing Standard operating procedures (SOP’s). The tourist destinations and monuments are being sanitized regularly. The managing staff and authorities have also being sensitized towards ensuring social distancing and other measures on tourist destinations. There has also been an added emphasis on ‘social awareness’ and ‘hygiene’. To develop cleanliness and hygiene at tourist destinations, social awareness campaigns, and projects for benchmarking cleanliness standards at various monuments, wildlife parks, and other tourist places will be formulated.
This year, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has adopted “Tourism and Rural Development” as the theme for World Tourism Day 2020 which is today i.e September 27. UNWTO’s theme also compliments the vision of the Rajasthan government’s new tourism policy that focuses on Rural and Roots. The policy provisions for innovative tourism products and services with a focus on lesser-known destinations especially in rural areas. Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has also directed towards promoting tourism in villages as means to improving the 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 focuses on promoting new investments in the development of new tourist venues, and strengthening infrastructure support, and improving road, rail, and air connectivity. The policy thus has been promoting local Craft and Cuisine has also been made part of the policy.
“Across the world, COVID19 has impacted the livelihoods of millions of people related to travel and tourism. Rajasthan Government is effectively working to mitigate its effect 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 unlocking phases, the facilities for the visitors need to be revamped and align with new normal,” says Alok Gupta, Principal Secretary Tourism, Government of Rajasthan.
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 businesses to operate in a safe environment, the tourism department has issued standard operating procedures for hotels, restaurants, and film shootings in the state.
In addition to the COVID-19 relief and safety measures, the department has also been working in the direction towards skill development, strengthening of Tourist Protection Force, promoting Tourist start-ups, and other experiential tourism initiatives.