'Many of the tourist cities in the state have recently added attractions such as Desert trails & ATVs, Jungle safaris, Zip lines and Paragliding and adventure sports activities. '
After a long hiatus due to Covid pandemic and travel restrictions, the tourism sector in India is seeing some green shoots of recovery. In India, Rajasthan was the first state to implement a new tourism policy focusing on safe travel. Rajasthan has witnessed a rise in the number of adventure tourism activities. With an added focus in the new tourism policy, adventure travel activities are gathering momentum in Rajasthan. In an exclusive conversation with the Financial Express Online Gaytri A, Principal Secretary, Rajasthan Tourism talked about recovery of tourism in Rajasthan, the state’s focus on adventure tourism and more. Excerpts:
The tourist season in Rajasthan shall commence from October, is the state tourism industry ready? Is Rajasthan safe to travel?
The pandemic has been of challenge for almost everyone and tourism has been most adversely impacted world over. However, Rajasthan has emerged triumphant in managing the pandemic and thanks to the initiatives of the State Government such as No Mask No Entry and Rajasthan Satark Hai, the state has effectively been able to control COVID. Rajasthan is also a forerunner in terms of vaccination making it a safe place to travel. Rajasthan Tourism Department too through timely initiatives has taken several initiatives to ensure safety of visitors at tourist places, restaurants and hotels. This while ensuring safety of the visitors, it also helped the tourism units operate and survive the challenging period. Several relief measures were also offered by the state government during COVID to help the ailing tourism sector and thus tourism in Rajasthan is making a safe and strong return.
While COVID safety measures shall remain, the sector is ready to welcome the tourists next season.
Opening up post-pandemic, what is new that Rajasthan has to offer tourists?
Adventure activities, shall be one of the major tour highlights for those traveling to Rajasthan to shrug off the pandemic blues. Many of the tourist cities in the state have recently added attractions such as Desert trails & ATVs, Jungle safaris, Zip lines and Paragliding and adventure sports activities. Rajasthan is the first state in the country to implement a new tourism policy since the COVID pandemic first arrived in India. The policy has an added focus on sustainable and safe tourism, it has identified several new experiential tourism activities and adventure tourism is one of these focus areas.
Rajasthan is a globally renowned destination on the heritage and cultural tourism map. The forts, palaces and colourful culture all have been a traditional attraction for the visitors. Recently introduced helicopter service in Udaipur which covers Nathdwara, Kumbhalgarh, Rajsamand gives visitors an opportunity to enjoy bird’s eye view of these tourist towns.
Why so much focus on Adventure tourism?
In line with the global trends, demand for adventure products has also been on the rise in Rajasthan too. Anticipating the trend, the tourism department is promoting these activities to offer more opportunities for those seeking adrenaline rush. Other experiential tourism products under rural tourism, craft and cuisine tourism are also being promoted by the Tourism Department. Adventure tourism has the potential to add on attraction to already popular tourist destinations. Rajasthan has rich and diverse landscape, it has historical monuments and associating adventure activities along these shall create a totally different experience
Where are such activities presently being held in Rajasthan?
Zipline rides are being offered near the iconic Mehrangarh fort and at Kaylana Lake in Jodhpur. In rural areas of the Jodhpur district paragliding rides are being held at Agolai village. Similarly, water sports and paragliding activities along the Rajsamand Lake are gaining popularity in Rajsamand district. Paragliding activities are also being held in Banswara district while a 410 meter long Zip-Line runs across the length of the Kagdi Water Reservoir. The Water Zip-Line at Kagdi Pick – up weir Banswara is the Longest water grazing Zip-line in the state. Meanwhile in Udaipur a full-fledged thrill park has come up to enthral the visitors. All-terrain vehicles and motorcycle tracks in the deserts of Bikaner and Jaisalmer, hot air adventure activities in Pushkar, Camel safari, Jungle safari etc are other major attractions
How is the state tourism department aiding such adventure activities?
Adventure tourism is one of the major focus areas of the state tourism policy and accordingly the department is in the process of offering incentives for adventure activities. The tourism department has also established a facilitation cell to coordinate with departments of Civil Aviation, Water Resources, Transport, Sports, Forest and Environment for developing guidelines, identification of sites and obtaining clearances for adventure activities. Adventure activities are always apprehended with associated risks and the department is focused to mitigate such possibilities through developing a regulatory framework. Skill training and safety certification systems will also be put in place by the department.