The 3rd edition of the Rajasthan Domestic Travel Mart concluded with a sense of euphoria among the participants. Both the buyers (Domestic Tour Operators) and sellers (Owners of Tourism Products) seemed upbeat buoyant at the response received at the mega travel mart. Over the course of the 2 days, over 7000 pre-structured B2B meetings took place between over 200 exhibitors from Rajasthan and more than 200 domestic tour operators from across the country. In addition to the meetings, there were several knowledge sharing sessions on topics such as ‘Sustainability in Tourism’, ‘Innovative Offerings – New Products in Tourism’, ‘Sustainable Waste Management in Hospitality Sector’, ‘Responsible Tourism’, ‘Wildlife Tourism’, among others.
The RDTM was organized by Department of Tourism, Government of Rajasthan and the Federation of Hospitality and Tourism of Rajasthan (FHTR). The theme of the Mart this year was Sustainable Tourism. While the Mart aimed to increase tourism inflow to the State but it is also does so in a manner that protects and nurtures the resources and does not endanger them.
Knowledge Session on ‘Sustainability in Tourism’
In one of the knowledge sessions ‘Sustainability in Tourism’, Principal Secretary, Tourism, Gayatri Rathore, IAS Naveen Mahajan, President, FHTR, Apurv Kumar and FHTR, Patron, Dr. Lalit K Panwar shared their insights on making hospitality and the tourism industry sustainable. Rathore said that there is a need to strike a balance between the GDP and the environment. She stressed the significance of embracing and promoting sustainable practices and livelihoods within the tourism sector, with the Rural Tourism Policy serving as a notable step in this direction. Rathore also highlighted the need to revive intangible heritage and preserve living arts.
Dr. Panwar, discussing tourism in Rajasthan, described it as a de facto industry, emphasizing the urgent necessity to re-imagine and re-invent the tourism sector. He underlined the importance of sustainability encompassing social, psychological, and spiritual aspects. Assessing the environmental and cultural carrying capacity of each destination should guide decision-making processes.
Mahajan voiced the need for conscious lifestyle changes to facilitate broader societal transformation. Mahajan also touched upon the importance of Greenco ratings for hotels and the role of the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC). He emphasized that implementing Greenco ratings in hotels is crucial for promoting sustainability and responsible practices in the hospitality industry. These ratings serve as a reliable benchmark to assess the environmental performance of hotels, encouraging them to adopt eco-friendly measures and reduce their ecological footprint. Mahajan highlighted the role of IGBC in providing guidance and certification for green buildings, including hotels, promoting energy efficiency, water conservation, waste management, and overall environmental responsibility.
Apurv Kumar said that with the growing number of tourists, there is a risk of natural resources being depleted. To preserve the natural beauty and cultural heritage of tourist destinations for future generations, it is essential that all stakeholders in the tourism industry work together to promote sustainable practices. He also laid stress on the adoption of ESG norms and said that the mechanism can be built on an incentive model.
Release of publication ‘Regal Rajasthan’
A publication ‘Regal Rajasthan – Sustainability empowering the future’ was also released during the mart. It highlights the attractions of Rajasthan such as the baoris (stepwells), forts, palaces, havelis etc., various schemes for boosting tourism, delicacies of Rajasthan, among other interesting topics.
Knowledge sharing sessions
In the session ‘Innovative Offerings – New Products in Tourism’, Patron, FHTR, Dr. Lalit K Panwar emphasized on how Rajasthan’s tourism is not limited only to 5 star hotels or resorts but there is more to explore in our villages. He appealed to the authorities to launch social security for art and craft personnel. He also shed light on eco-friendly innovations in rural areas. Mr. Amitava Bhattacharya highlighted the participation of the community towards building tourism in Rajasthan. He emphasized more towards the folk artisans of Rajasthan by saying that whatever our villages are producing we need to take it global. Talking about his photography and his experience with art and culture, Mr. Sharvan Ram discussed how ‘Art is Heritage’. Head of Department, Amity University, Dr. Saurabh Sharma, shed light on the culinary heritage of Rajasthan, reflecting on how to present our traditional dishes in a modern style in a way that the soul of these dishes is retained.
In another Session, ‘Rewilding in our backyards’: Director, Kishan Bagh and Aravali Bio-diversity Park, Mr. Vijay Dhasmana talked about how we are losing touch with our vegetation and harming our climate and biodiversity. Similarly in the session, ‘Sustainable Waste Management in Hospitality Sector’: Managing Director, Sarthak Sansthan, Mr. Imteyaz Ali expressed his views on how banning plastic is not the solution but the management of it is.