Jaipur, Mar 7: Rural tourism is in vogue in Rajasthan, as tourists from abroad trek to savour the rustic staying in small houses in remote villages, instead of star hotels. Apparently, the reason for the preference is the economic package offered and the fact that they also get a feel of a real India. People in rural areas have converted their houses to guest houses and the response from the tourists has been phenomenal.
Premadevi Kumawat, 32-year-old housewife in Shekhawati region is happy with the tourist inflow during the tourist season. She hosted over 50 foreigners in the four-room tenement that she converted into a small guesthouse last year. "We celebrate festivals with them and treat them like our family," said Premadevi.
Initially, Premadevi and her husband Bhanwar Lal were apprehensive of providing accommodation to foreigners, but the couple has gradually overcome this fear and is enjoying the business. "It's more relaxed, you can talk, joke and eat meals together. I am also learning to cook with them. I also get to understand the culture in an intimate fashion. I am getting to learn much more when I stay here in this environment," said Carol, a British tourist.
Residents are showing interest in earning through such small ventures, as the basic requirements for this business are minimal. They also offer homemade food for extra payments. Moreover, tourists say they can explore the cultural ethos of the country and feel it is best learnt from the rural soil. Industry experts believe that if people of the State start focusing on the brighter aspects of the tourism sector, they have a bigger chance of earning profits.
"People come here to study the culture. They want to go to the villages to see how people live there," said Sajid Mahmood, General Secretary, Hotel Association of Rajasthan. Moreover, the home guesthouses generate opportunities for thousands of rural people who get employment. The increased flow of tourists has no doubt brought a smile in the visages of the people but noticing this trend, the government should also make efforts to harness the potential of rural tourism.