New ‘industry’ status buoys up Rajasthan’s tourism units

The tourism-friendly budget and the industry status accorded to the sector, it is hoped, will go a long way in promoting the State as a preferred tourist destination

July 24, 2022 03:46 am | Updated 01:33 pm IST - JAIPUR

Camel owners wait for tourists in the Thar desert at Sam village in Rajasthan on October 7, 2021.

Camel owners wait for tourists in the Thar desert at Sam village in Rajasthan on October 7, 2021. | Photo Credit: AFP

The ‘industry’ status accorded to the tourism and hospitality sector in Rajasthan earlier this year has given a sure and certain fillip to the State’s tourism units that had incurred huge losses during the pandemic. The power tariff and other taxes levied on tourism operators have now been brought on par with other industries, against the much-higher commercial rates levied earlier.

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot had announced in his 2022-23 budget speech in the State Assembly in February this year that the tourism and hospitality sector would be granted industry status. The concessions to the tourism sector as an ‘industry’ would bring a financial burden of ₹700 crore a year on the State exchequer, he said.

Since the formal grant of this status on May 28, the tourism units have been seeking out new ventures especially as international tourism is yet to gain momentum in the State. The Rajasthan domestic travel mart, which commenced here on Friday, dwelt on expanding the scope of tourism by highlighting the desert State’s rich and varied culture.

Art and Culture Minister Bulaki Das Kalla, who inaugurated the mart, said Rajasthan had a number of tourism products related to its history and heritage, art and culture, wildlife, fairs and festivals, adventures, wedding and film shoot destinations. The mart was organised jointly by Rajasthan Tourism and the Federation of Hospitality and Tourism in Rajasthan (FHTR).

Mr. Kalla said the tourism-friendly budget and the industry status would go a long way in promoting the State as a preferred tourist destination. Two documents pertaining to the State’s film tourism promotion policy-2022 and a memorandum of understanding with UNESCO on the intangible cultural heritage were released on the occasion.

Rajasthan Small Industries Corporation’s chairperson Rajiv Arora said after the pandemic, a new trend relating to wellness and nature had emerged in the tourism sector. Chief Secretary Usha Sharma said the allocation of ₹1,000 crore to the tourism development fund would help support the infrastructure development as well as aid activities for branding and publicity.

FHTR president Apurv Kumar said public-private partnerships could help revive the tourism industry as the entire sector was looking towards the domestic market for business. Tourism operators described the mart as a common platform for interaction and business generation for associated travel partners.

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