The ninth edition of Great Indian Travel Bazaar (GITB) held at the Jaipur Exhibition and Convention Centre (JECC) was inaugurated by NC Goel, Additional Chief Secretary, Government of Rajasthan; Suman Billa, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India; and Dr Jyotsna Suri, Chairperson, FICCI Tourism Committee.
As stated by NC Goel, Additional Chief Secretary, Government of Rajasthan, “In the year 2016, the arrival of the number of tourists to Rajasthan has been around 18% increase in the domestic tourist arrivals and around three percent in the foreign tourist arrivals.”
In a span of nine years, GITB has gone from strength to strength and is now a force to reckon with in the inbound tourism marts. This year there were over 10,800 B2B structured pre-fixed meetings between buyers and sellers over two days. As many as 275 leading inbound foreign tour operators from around 53 countries participated as foreign buyers. Similarly, 288 Indian sellers comprised of tour operators, hotels, resorts, spa & wellness, international airline and state tourism boards like Rajasthan, Gujarat, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Tamil Nadu, Goa and Jammu & Kashmir.
GITB was organised by Department of Tourism, Government of Rajasthan; Ministry of Tourism, Government of India; and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI). It is supported by leading national and regional associations like Hotel & Restaurant Association of Rajasthan (HRAR), Indian Heritage Hotels Association (IHHA) and Rajasthan Association of Tour Operators (RATO).
During the exhibition, two reports- FICCI-MRSS Knowledge Paper on ‘Resurgent Rajasthan-Revelation Beyond the Obvious’ and FICCI– Yes Bank Knowledge Paper on ‘India Inbound Tourism-the Next Growth Trajectory’ were also released.
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.
Based on the data from the two reports, the planned manner in which Rajasthan is now being presented as a tourist destination can be gauged by a major change on overall strategy. 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, eight types of adventure tourism across 11 locations and as many as 128 religious locations. And on these factors was born the current creative print, electronic, digital and social media campaign of the Rajasthan Tourism.
The State economy, growing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) in excess of 12% for the period 2005-06 to 2015-16 has a considerable contribution from the tourism sector. The tertiary sector, of which tourism is a part, contributes approximately 48% to the State economy and is growing at a CAGR of 17.3% for the period under consideration, reveals the report.