Rajasthan celebrates World Tourism Day focusing on rural destinations

Rajasthan celebrates World Tourism Day focusing on rural destinations
Deeg Palace in Rajasthan
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As the World Tourism Day is celebrated on Sunday this year amid the coronavirus pandemic with the theme 'Tourism and Rural Development', the Rajasthan government's new tourism policy complements the theme keeping rural tourism in focus.

The Rajasthan government's new tourism policy provides for innovative tourism products and services with the focus on lesser-known destinations especially in the rural areas, confirmed tourism officials.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has also directed the promotion of tourism in villages as a means to improve the rural economy, they said.

"Across the world, COVID-19 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 by the government are offering support to the industry. As the situation eases and India passes through unlock phases, the facilities for the visitors need to be revamped and aligned with the new normal," said Alok Gupta, Principal Secretary Tourism, Rajasthan.

The tourism sector has been the worst-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and is striving for revival and needs more infrastructure support. The Rajasthan Tourism Policy 2020 promotes new investments in developing new tourist venues with the focus on strengthening infrastructure and improving road, rail and air connectivity, the official said.

There was also an added emphasis on the safety and security of the tourists. The policy thus has been creating a conducive environment for enabling the tourism sector in the state. Promoting local craft and cuisine has also been made part of the policy, he added.

The state government has offered several relief measures for existing tourism businesses in view of COVID-19. The tourism department has also formulated strategies to ensure safe tourism by issuing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). The tourist destinations and monuments are being sanitized and there is added emphasis on social awareness and hygiene in the new policy.

The state government has already declared reimbursement of the state's GST share to hotels and restaurants, the motor vehicle tax has been relaxed for vehicles of more than 22-person capacity and relaxations have been given in renewal of bar licences. In order to allow businesses to operate in a safe environment, the tourism department has issued SOPs for hotels, restaurants and film shoots in the state, officials said.

The tourism department has also been working to promote skill development, strengthening of the Tourist Protection Force, promoting tourist start-ups and other experiential tourism initiatives.

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