‘Tourism’ is changing and so is the way it is offered to the world. With a very vast tourism potential every incredible Indian states have something new to offer every time we visit. Rajasthan is one such state that doesn’t need an introduction in the travel market, it has been doing vibrantly well towards attracting domestic and international travellers. With a clear visioned man on board, Shri Ashutosh AT Pednekar as a Director of Tourism and Managing Director, RTDC, it seems Rajasthan will top the list in the years to come. His ideas are commendable and the way he understands tourism can be felt during an interaction with him, excerpts from the interview.
We are looking at maximum number of arrivals in terms of domestic and international. We are also working on a new tourism policy which we will be launching very shortly. Also, you must have seen that we have got new advertising campaign which was recently launched. Apart from that, we are also working on various social media campaigns in a very big way and of course print media also. The entire thing is about getting more and more information about your place, once we get more information than getting people more excited about Rajasthan, so that they can think of visiting Rajasthan. Once they think of visiting the place than to make that entire experience from booking, travel, etc, as easy as possible. We are also looking at interventions in terms of RTDC by launching new experiences such as making the state a destination for film shooting. Another major focus area is on the heritage properties available in and around as it is considered as the biggest strength of the state. We will be promoting heritage properties in a big way and we have also revised the guidelines for heritage properties launched recently.
With the aim of providing information to the tourists and promoting the atate’s rich tourism products, we are developing a Mobile App. The Mobile App will be developed on the platforms such as Android, iOS and Windows. The App will have features such as GPS and Social Media Integration, interactive maps of tourists places, suggested itineraries, notifications and alerts, weather information; facilities available nearby the tourists places, among others. It will be a tourist friendly App with features such as booking of entrance tickets of monuments; information related to hotels, restaurants, sightseeing, local transportation, etc. The App will also have information such as location based contact details of hospitals, police stations, administration, boarding and lodging facilities available nearby the tourist destination.
The Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation (RTDC) has formulated the ‘Hotel Reservation Policy 2016’ for its 41 hotels. Categorised into hotels, motels and heritage properties, they are spread all over the State and are located in prime areas. The Policy makes it clear about the various kinds of discounts to be given to the different categories of travellers.
Now attractive discounts are being offered for bulk bookings of the rooms in the RTDC hotels. For instance, during the off season (April to September) any client booking a room from 25 to 35 rooms even for one day will be entitled to a discount of 30 per cent and during the season (October to March), the discount will be 20 per cent. Similarly, if a block of 36 rooms and above are booked even for one day the off season discount will be 40 per cent and during the season it will be 25 per cent. The off season discount is not applicable to the RTDC Hotels located at Mount Abu.
In a bid to attract more travellers
Trains such as Royal Rajasthan on Wheels (RROW) earlier were very much expensive, so we decided upon cutting down the number of days from seven days itinerary. But due to paucity of time, a large number of tourists could not experience the splendid journey of the train. Now with two new itineraries more tourists will be able to travel on the RROW. This will also help the Corporation in boosting the luxury train’s business. While the existing itinerary of the train has seven trips, the new itineraries will have as many as 19 rounds each. With the newly added itinerary of four nights and five days the train will begin from Delhi and cover Chittorgarh, Udaipur, Jaipur, Bharatpur and Agra. Similarly, as per the itinerary of three nights and four days, the train will start from Delhi and will cover Jaipur, Bharatpur and Agra.
It is to be recalled that as per the existing seven nights and eight days itinerary, the train starts from Delhi and covers Jodhpur, Udaipur, Chittorgarh, Sawai Madhopur, Jaipur, Khajuraho, Varanasi and Agra.
New Film Tourism Policy
Rajasthan has always been a popular destination for film shooting and in order to enhance the same we have made it easier and cheaper for the film makers. Bearing in mind the long standing demands of film producers the tourism department has waived off the application fee, processing charges and security deposit for shooting films in the State.
In this context the DoT, which is the nodal department for film shooting, has amended the existing ‘Rajasthan Film Shooting Regulations, 2012’. As per the amended regulations – ‘Rajasthan Film Shooting (Amendment) Regulations, 2016’ – the film makers have no longer to pay the security deposit of a whopping `50 lakhs restricted to one week schedule and `10 lakh per day beyond the one week. Similarly, the processing charges of `15000 per day for the first week and `10 thousand per day beyond the first week have also been waived. Under the new regulations the application fee of `1000 is also not required to be paid. To ensure speedy disposal of application for film shooting, nodal officers in DoT as well as in all other related Departments will be appointed who will act as a single reference point for compliance of all processes and extending time bound permissions.
The waiver of the security deposit, processing charges and application fee will give a faster boost to film shooting in the State. The Department will endeavour to extend all help in expediting such proposal so that film shooting can be made an active economic activity in the State.
New guidelines for Heritage Hotels
Clearly defining a heritage property (fort, fortress, palace, castle, hunting lodge or residence with heritage features), it should be built prior to January 1, 1950. Furthermore, the façade, architectural features and general construction of the heritage property should have the distinctive qualities and ambiance in keeping with the traditional way of life of the area.
As per the guidelines any extension, improvement or renovation, changes in the existing structures should have been done in keeping with the traditional architectural styles and constructional techniques harmonising the new with the old. The newly built up area added should not exceed 50 per cent of the total built up (plinth) area including the old and new structures. For this purpose, facilities such as swimming pools, lawns, etc. have been excluded.