Published on : Tuesday, December 7, 2021
India decided to close its borders in March 2020 following the first few cases of COVID-19 in the country, bringing all international travel to a halt.
With international flights, to and from India, banned, all players in Rajasthan’s tourism industry from heritage and luxury hotels to destination management companies and cab services have suffered huge losses.
Rajasthan is a culturally rich destination and tourists get a chance to explore widespread heritage in every city of the state. The state, along with luxury and commercial hotels, has a significant number of heritage and palace hotels which used to be a delight for foreign tourists.
Marwa Fort, a palace hotel, had bookings for February and March next year but with the new variant Omicron prompting the government to continue the international travel ban, the uncertainty continues.
While some heritage and luxury hotels have been struggling to continue functioning, some have changed their operations to cater to domestic tourists.
Many in-bound foreign companies and hotels have also had to shut down with some even facing bankruptcy.
Jaisalkot, a luxury boutique hotel in Jaisalmer, has changed the very way it used to operate.
It has changed its menus, especially breakfast, to include more Indian oriented meals and less continental meals, like it was earlier as said by Manvendra Singh Chauhan, Director of Operations & Quality Support at Jaisalkot.
Le tour de India, a tourism firm organising cycling tours for the last 11 years, has been organising tours mainly for foreign travellers.
Owner Khushal Rathod is among those impacted by this lack of foreign visitors. He said that many in the industry have shut shop, picked up farming, gone back to family businesses or taken up other jobs.
Luxury and vintage cab services were a huge market assisting foreign travellers in Rajasthan, and for the last two years, these businesses, too, have found it an uphill climb.
Dilip, the owner of Rajputana cabs, now has only 20 per cent of the business he had in pre-COVID times. The luxury cabs have not been used for the last two years. With the news of borders reopening from December 15 this year, many foreign tourists had made bookings to travel to Rajasthan.