Ms Sreya Guha ,Principal Secretary for Tourism, Art and Culture, Government of Rajasthan, has been been one of the most respected and well known personality in the office of Rajasthan Tourism. She is known for her un-compromised initiatives , remarkable achievements and progressive vision in the arena of Tourism and development. A 1994 batch IAS, Ms Guha has recently been assigned the charge of Forest and environment in Rajasthan. TW team spoke to her on the current and future scenario of tourism .
How has the journey been so far with Rajasthan tourism?
Rajasthan is fortunate to be blessed with rich cultural and natural heritage making it a unique travel destination. It has been my proud privilege to be associated with various initiatives in the tourism sector throughout my career. My first posting was in the Lake City of Udaipur and from then on I realised the potential the State had for promoting itself as a iconic destination showcasing its monuments, culture, rural lifestyles, folk art & crafts, wildlife parks, nature trails, desert topography and such. In my subsequent postings in various districts and departments taking up projects showcasing the tourism potential has been a running theme. One of the priority areas in my current assignment is to promote wildlife and eco tourism, since in my assessment, post COVID, the preference of travellers will be to experience the outdoors. Sustainable and responsible tourism is going to be the way forward.
Ranthambore National Park has been one of the best and exemplary for wildlife tourism in India. What are the main challenges for the development and protection of wildlife ?
Ranthambhore National Park is the pride of the State. It is a destination that attracts visitors from across the globe. Its unique vegetation and topography and richness of fauna make it an essential item in every wildlifer’s bucket list.The good news is that the population of tigers is regularly increasing over the years. The challenge for us is to ensure effective management so as to ensure conservation, minimise man-animal conflict and allow access to tourists in a sustainable manner.
What is the post covid scenario? How is Wildlife Tourism going to change?
Post Covid, I expect an increase in holidays at natural heritage destinations. Therefore, in Rajasthan we need to position ourselves to offer experiences at our wildlife parks, nature parks, develop nature trails, focus on eco tourism and such. All over the world, there will be heightened awareness about sustainable and responsible tourism and consciousness about carbon footprints. That is how we need to enhance our products.
What are new projects / initiatives of Rajasthan wildlife tourism in near future?
We have projects of new tiger reserves on the anvil. Ramgarh -Vishdhari corridor is our latest project. We are actively pursuing clearances from the Government of India for this. Another success story is our Great Indian Bustard conservation project. We have nine hatchlings at our incubation centre. It is a critically endangered species with about 150 odd birds in the wild. We hope that as we develop the conservation programme we can one day showcase a rare species to travellers. Our leopard conservation project has also done well. Jhalana Leopard Safari in the heart of Jaipur city is attracting a lot of visitors. We are developing more such reserves.
What are your personal favourite travel destinations?
My personal favourites are of course the tiger reserves which have a mesmerising attraction but I also love the dense forests of southern Rajasthan which have a charm of their own if one likes to go on nature trails and camping trips.
What are your passions/hobbies?
I love to travel, which I hope to resume post COVID. I like to read but get very little time for it. Currently gastronomy is becoming a new passion.
How do you like to be remembered as?
As someone who celebrates creativity……..in every sphere of life.