In an exclusive interview with TW, Mr Nishant Jain, IAS, Director ,Tourism, Government of Rajasthan shares the challenges and difficulties that tourism has been facing due to the unprecedented pandemic situation and ways to restart the sector bringing the confidence and motivation back among people. Mr Jain also reveals the exciting new tourism projects and initiatives of the state in near future .
1) The last two years have been the most challenging for the world and the Tourism section being one of the worst hit. How are you looking at the scope of rejuvenating the tourism industry in the near future?
Need of the hour is to understand and address the issues of importance towards sustainable development of natural resources and heritage and at the same time sensitize the visitors about the conservation of the ecosystem. The pandemic has shown us how important it is to balance and respect the elements of nature to protect the environment for a healthy and better future.
An integrated and sensible approach of all individuals will not only restart the tourism activities but also ensure a steady growth of ecotourism and environment friendly development.
2) How Rajasthan is planning to rebuild the confidence back among domestic and international travelers, under the guidelines of “new normal“?
Tourism industry is extremely vital, especially for a state like Rajasthan as it is a means of livelihood for a large population which is directly or indirectly dependent on this sector. We have taken a number steps and designed a plan to support and help the stakeholders and bring the sector back on track. But, most important is getting the tourists back. Under the present circumstances, it is extremely important to take a scientific, balanced and methodical approach to formulate the new guidelines and new regulations for safe tourism activities. Travelers must also understand the importance of this ‘new normal’ and adapt to this changing environment and there is no reason it should not happen.
3) What tourism is planning to support and reshape the small travel agencies, hospitality and support staff in the post covid era?
As per an initiative by the Rajasthan government, the COVID Vaccination is being administered on priority to the people associated with the travel industry in the state, like the guides, hotel staff and other stakeholders in the industry. Many such initiatives and relaxations have been undertaken by the state government to provide support to people associated with the hospitality sector.
4) What are the new projects you are planning?
There are a number of initiatives in the pipeline. A few of them have already been finalized and others are in the process. To name of a few would be
I) MonsoonTourism :
III) Inviting influencers and Bloggers
IV) Rajasthan Diaries- A series of Virtual Live Sessions
V) Promoting Adventure Tourism
Apart from these , new Ecotourism policies have also been put in place to provide for broad guidelines for operating environment friendly tourism in the state of Rajasthan.
5) Besides the most popular wildlife destinations like Ranthambore ,Bharatpur there are so many lesser known biodiversity in the state. How do you plan to bring those on the tourist map?
Rajasthan has always been a treasure for biodiversity with its unique flora and fauna. In the near future there will be a consolidated approach for not only bringing the lesser known destinations on the tourist map but also to identify and develop these areas for a sustainable eco friendly development. We are planning to introduce activities like Trekking, nature walk, bird and wildlife watching, boating, overnight camping / stargazing on designated sites etc.
6) If you may share with us, in short, about your journey so far?
Rajasthan being one of the pinnacle states in the country from a tourism perspective. Since taking over as the Director, Dept of Tourism, various initiatives have been taken as per the demand of the situation which is dynamic and throws up new challenges each day. To make sure that the Tourism industry gets going during the COVID times and to bring back the sector on its feet post the pandemic has been an unprecedented situation. My endeavor shall remain to showcase Rajasthan as the premier tourist destination for travelers from India and abroad.
( Interview was held on Sept, 2021)