In the year 2016 the arrival of the number of tourists to the State is encouraging: around 18 percent increase in the domestic tourist arrivals and around 3 percent in the foreign tourist arrivals. This statistics was quoted by Additional Chief Secretary, Tourism, Government of Rajasthan, NC Goel in his address at the inaugural session of the Great Indian Travel Bazaar (GITB) in Jaipur recently. The current trends in this year already indicate a quantum jump in the arrival of the tourists to the State. The new campaign is being credited for giving a fillip to the arrival of tourists.
This marketing campaign was necessitated once it was realized that the tourist flow was stagnating owing to economic downturn, lesser variety of destinations as well as the entertainment facility in these destinations. Furthermore, the tourist destinations had become crowded, there was stiff competition from the neighbouring States and weak infrastructure in certain pockets. It was also realized that the urban Indian middle class was willing to spend on experiences. The State Tourism Department also perceived that there were changing preferences in the modes of communication with the preferred mode being the digital. The Government was also alive to the fact that road, rail and air infrastructure will have to be geared up. And on these factors was born the current creative print, electronic, digital and social media campaign of the Rajasthan Tourism.
This has been revealed in the knowledge paper released at the GITB this year. Entitled “Rajasthan : Revelation Beyond the Obvious.’’ It has been jointly prepared by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and MRSS.
The report unveils the fact that Rajasthan, despite its strong and appealing tourism products had slipped from the top 5 States – after having been among the top 5 for several decades. The visit of the foreign tourists to the State decreased. However, following a national trend the arrival of the domestic tourists kept increasing.
The planned manner in which Rajasthan is now being presented as a tourist destination can be gauged by a major change on overall strategy, focus, centre-state relationship, increase in number of destinations as well attractions, unconventional experiences, social media boost and targeted intervention. For instance, earlier, the strategy for marketing Rajasthan was destination specific while now it is pre-dominantly theme specific. Similarly, the focus from being on heritage and legacy has now changed to a variety of tourism offering with proper segments defined and new products introduced. There is now a well coordinated and concerted action with action between the State and Centre agencies. While earlier, there were 149 tourist spots across 13 destinations; there are now 25 major destinations with 30 forts, 39 palaces, 16 museums, 13 wildlife sanctuaries, 25 fairs and festivals, 8 types of adventure tourism across 11 locations and as many as 128 religious locations.
The report further goes on to reveal that Rajasthan now has umpteen unconventional experiences while there were only a handful earlier. The social media was a big zilch for marketing tourism while now it is an aggressive and integral part of the marketing plan. There is now also a well defined plan with targeted intervention while earlier it relied too much on word of mouth.
The focus of promoting Rajasthan as a tourism destination is now through new concepts, identifying and developing new destinations, strengthening the infrastructure, encouraging private investment, increasing connectivity and an aggressive marketing campaign.