R'than loses foreign tourists as govt fails to improve infra

R'than loses foreign tourists as govt fails to improve infra

‘Phadharo Mahre Desh’, seems to be no more a buzzword for Rajasthan tourism, which is losing its credibility among foreign tourists.

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report on state-run Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation Limited (RTDC) reveals that the state has ended up forfeiting its dominant position in tourism sector to other states.

The report shows that despite an increase in foreign visitors from 51.75 lakh in 2007-08 to 66.94 lakh in 2012-13, the percentage share of foreign tourists visiting Rajasthan decreased from 30.61 per cent to 21.68 per cent.

According to CAG around 14 lakh tourist visited the state in 2012-13 and hardly .2 per cent availed RTDC’s accommodation. In 2007-08 the percentage of foreign tourist staying in RTDC hotels and motels was 0.14 per cent which reduced to .2 last year.

The downfall in the tourist and accommodation has been attributed to pathetic infrastructure in tourism industry.

The report clearly mentioned the state government has not bothered to implement tourism policy 2001 and has not even taken an initiative to draft any long or short-term plan to improve infrastructure in the industry.

The CAG also conducted a random survey in 12 RTDC hotels and motels which showed that hardly 31 per cent of the parameters were met. Driven by poor maintenance and infrastructure RTDC hotels have never ever applied for star categorisation by Union Ministry of Tourism.

Senior officials of tourism department refused to comment saying they are yet to study the CAG report.

However, the tour operators in the state expressed their resentment saying that despite tall claims by government, no efforts have been ever made to improve the infrastructure of the industry.

“If the governments want to improve the infrastructure it will have to compete with the private hotels and restaurants. RTDC hotels and restaurants need a complete makeover. Neither there is any policy nor there is any planning,” said Sanjay Kaushik, Rajputana tours and travels.

None of RTDC hotels in Rajasthan has appropriate staff to manage it, he added.
Interestingly the luxury train Palace on Wheels (PoW) has been the only profitable venture for RTDC in last five years.

The number of passengers in PoW decreased drastically but due to hike in tariff it registered profit for RTDC.

PoW’s surplus increased from Rs 8.80 crore to Rs 9.64 crore during 2007-12. The occupancy of the train, however, declined from 100 per cent to 80.12 per cent during the same period and further declined to 66.63 per cent during 2012-13.

The increase in surplus, therefore, is due to increase in tariff.

During 2007-13, company’s other luxury tourist trains – Royal Rajasthan on Wheels (RRoW) and Heritage on Wheels (HoW) did poorly.

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