One of the major tourism destinations in India, Rajasthan has been strengthening its tourism offering and promotion in order to find new ways to stimulate both, the industry within the state as well as the market.
The State Government has allocated Rs 1,000 crore for tourism in the Budget and the department is keen to utilize this budget properly to give a new trajectory to the state’s tourism industry. The government is redefining the accommodation and guest stay experience going beyond hotels and revitalizing the more experiential B&B offerings and the relatively new guest house scheme that’s a somewhat between B&B and a full-fledged hotel but nevertheless a sure shot recipe of experiential and immersive experiences bringing tourists closer to more authentic ways of Rajasthani lifestyle and food.
“We have got very good state budget of Rs 600 crore for infrastructure development and another Rs 400 crore for marketing. This is a huge budget and remarkable for us also. When you have a good budget, you can do many things on different fronts. Under the infrastructure budget, we have different types of work that we are going to undertake. These are related to renovation, new developments, construction of missing road links and last mile connectivity and upgradation of tourist facilities at the monuments and other such sites and pilgrimage centres. These are areas where we are planning to spend the money,” informed Pawan Kumar Jain, Joint Director, Department of Tourism, Government of Rajasthan, while interacting on the sidelines of the recently concluded SATTE last month.
As for the Rs 400 crore marketing budget, Jain informed that his department is doing an all-round marketing campaign, including TV, radio, print as well as outdoor media. Rajasthan Tourism is also doing social media campaigns and media buying, among others, to reach out to large number of people across the country.
Additionally, the state tourism department has launched many other schemes, in the state, all aimed at facilitating tourism in the state. One such scheme is Heritage Certification Scheme. “Under the scheme, we give heritage certificate to heritage properties. It is given only to those properties which were constructed before 1950. The State Government gives such properties bar license at a subsidized rate. So, suppose the annual fee is of Rs. X amount, then such properties have to pay X/2 as the bar license fee. Besides, they get many other benefits also like some parts of the property can be used as commercial parts also and they are converted free of cost,” informed Jain.
The other scheme is the Guest House Scheme, under which one can operate anywhere from six to twenty lettable rooms as Guest House in ones’ residential house. These houses are required to be located on at least 30 feet wide road. Under the scheme, the Guest House owners are allowed to operate a professionally run restaurant also, but only for the in-house guests. Besides, they can also run a shop in the premises. “More than 22 properties have already registered under the scheme across the state, especially at tourism hotspots like Jaipur, Udaipur, Jodhpur, among others. We want to reach more than 50 properties by the end of this year under the scheme and I am sure we can accomplish this target,” said Jain.
The State’s B&B Scheme is no less exciting, Jain said. Under the scheme, one to five lettable rooms can be rented to guests or tourists. But what is different about the scheme viz-a-viz B&B schemes declared by other states is that the Rajasthan allows such facilities on the basis of self-declaration. “Suppose I want my residence to be opened as a B&B establishment, then I have to declare that I will run it as B&B and I will stay in the premises and based on this we issue the certificate. So, we have made it more simplified.”
Today more than 800 B&B facilities are already registered with state government from across Rajasthan. The Rajasthan Department of Tourism provides them with publicity, promotion and business access support, among others.