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Visit Rajastan for adventure tourism: By Rakhee Roy Talukdar

Written by: Staff
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Jaipur, Mar 2: Rajasthan is high on adventure tourism these days but what is worrying is will the state be able to compete with a tourism product established so firmly worldwide? Rajasthan tourism till now is based on the 'royalty' experience and the state is trying to change its image both in the international and domestic arena, throwing in adventure tourism for a good measure.

Hot air ballooning, paragliding, parasailing, safari, trekking, water sports are some of the offers to attract tourists, who interestingly, just spend an average 2.5 days in the state, far below the figures of other states, according to a survey conducted by the central Government.

But what is heartening is that the survey states a total of 97,88177 tourists are expected to visit Rajasthan in 2006. The projections are 1,79,57,411 for the year 2021.

''Adventure tourism is being promoted as now there is no recall value for tourists here. Once they have visited the monuments, historical places, they don't want to come back, ''managing director Rakesh Saini, Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation(RTDC) said.

''By associating it with adventure tourism, we are trying to provide activity and excitement, which will make them come back for more,'' he added.

Admitting that it will be difficult for the state to compete in a field where countries like Canada, Australia and European nations are far ahead, he said adding the policy of adventure tourism is in the conceptualisation stage and these factors have to be kept in mind while framing it.

As foreign tourists have enough experience about adventure tourism in their countries and since adventure sports is a high risk segment, it needs expert techical knowledge and upgraded safety standards, which Rajasthan lacks in the present scenario.

Although the new initiatives have been welcomed by the industry, a proper certification and monitoring system needs to be in place before the state goes into high gear.

Saini said, ''Safety measures and internationally trained instructors are an absolute necessity and of course tourists would feel safer in their hands.'' ''With the state set to become IT-savvy and many professionals with high disposable income going to settle here, promoting adventure tourism becomes a necessity. These high-adventure activities won't let these professional seek thrill outside the state,'' he added.

But Jaipur-based cultural and tourism expert Tripti Pandey said, ''Tourists come here to soak in culture and experience culture. I think we should stick to our USP - heritage, royalty and culture.'' ''Rajasthan neither has the heights of mountains nor the depths of sea water, so why get into an arena which is not our USP,''she asked.

Tripti said why can't Rajasthan have more special interest museums ''Just by having one or two balloon flights, we won't be able to attract tourists who have had enough of adventure tourism in their own countries, ''she added.

''Heritage along with minor adventure tourism like camel, tiger safaris are OK but I think Rajasthan will not be able to match the world-class standards of safety required in such cases,'' says Tripti said.

UNI

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