Absence of foreign travelers harms Rajasthan’s tourist spots even as normalcy returns

The forts and other tourist sites of Rajasthan opened for all at the end of June following the second wave of Covid-19 but it was in August that tourists returned, offering a semblance of normality to these places. However, the absence of foreign tourists turns out to be a drag on the tourism sector.

“It has been better after our opening following the recent foreclosure. We have started to function fully and the response from tourists has been better than last month, last year and even better than in January, ”said Dilip Sharma, City Palace superintendent, who started seeing around 600 tourists. weekdays and 2000 weekends.

Ravi Bhatt, a puppet performer at City Palace, said that while Indian tourists have started to come, foreigners, who have kept their businesses afloat, are missing. “Local artists all over the state have been affected because foreign tourists are not coming.”

“It’s getting better, especially these last few days. We earn up to Rs 60,000 on weekdays and Rs 2,000,000 on weekends. This is the best we have seen since the start of the pandemic, ”said RC Sharma, manager of the City Palace Gate 2 counter. He added that people only started coming after the monsoon started. in the city.

Jantar Mantar, which is directly opposite the City Palace, has also seen an increase in the number of tourists. The observatory receives up to 1,000 tourists during the week and up to 2,000 at weekends, said its director Mohammad Arief. “The City Palace receives fewer tourists than we do. Although we only receive Indian tourists, the drop in foreign visitors has been felt in the numbers. This is the reason why our ticket sales are 50% lower than before the crisis, ”said Arief. One possible reason for the drop in ticket sales is that there are no tour groups traveling amid the pandemic, he added.

However, there is an increase in income, compared to the period before the second wave of Covid. According to data from Hawa Mahal, the tourist site generated an income of more than 15 lakh from August 1 to August 15, which is three times the income for the corresponding period in July and double in April, before the closures.

Besides tourist spots, ethnic resorts like Chokhi Dhani have also seen a return to normalcy. “It was better than at the start of the year because people were staying away for fear of Covid,” said Mahendra Singh Naruka, manager of Chokhi Dhani. He added that while up to 500 tourists visit on weekdays and up to 1,500 on weekends, there has been an estimated 40% drop in tourist influx compared to pre-Covid times. .

Nikunj, a tourist from Mumbai, said: “It’s been a year and a half and we don’t know how long it would last. Although there was a feeling of uncertainty since we are with our young daughter, we felt Jaipur was a safe place and wouldn’t be too crowded.

“People are sitting at home, everyone is tired and wants to go out now, especially since people are starting to get vaccinated. One of the reasons Jaipur is a safe destination for tourists is that there are fewer cases of Covid here than most other tourist sites, ”said Sarojini Chanchalani, superintendent of Hawa Mahal.