Focus is to build a long term relation with the tourists: Raje

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Jaipur, Apr 21 (UNI) Even as the Union Tourism Ministry zeroes in on a pilot project to develop 20 short haul tourism destinations, the Rajasthan government has decided to shift its focus from numbers, to providing foreign and domestic tourist arrivals an enriching experience and build long term relationships with the visitors.

''We are looking at concepts like 'Ideal village', additional airports, better road connectivity and development of the rich heritage that Rajasthan has,'' state Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje said while addressing the 'FICCI Great Indian Travel Bazaar (GITB) 2008' here.

The State is also looking at Commonwealth Games 2010, which will be held in Delhi, as a major event to further boost visitor inflow to the state.

The arrival of foreign tourists to Rajasthan has seen a quantum jump from 0.6 million in 2003 to 1.4 million in 2007, a 100 per cent plus growth in four years. Similarly, the arrival of domestic tourists has also doubled from 12.5 million to 26 million, she added.

Significant initiatives have been taken to develop new tourist circuits and destinations like a sound and light show at Chittaurgarh, and Amber Fort, which will be launched today evening.

The State also plans to start river cruises on Chambal, heritage walks along the various tourist attractions and 'Rain in the Desert' in Barmer district.

''Jaipur would have a new international terminal building by year end. The runway would be extended from 9,000 feet to 11,500 feet.

The Udaipur airport has already become the second international airport of Rajasthan and its runway has been extended up to 9000 feet,'' she said.

Rajasthan has also initiated the formation of a land bank, given the high realty prices, for developing hotels, especially in the Budget category.

''Rajasthan has many forts and palaces which have been converted to hotels. But there is a need of budget hotels, so that there is an accommodation for every pocket,'' the Minister said.

UNI PDT BJR KN1540

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