It has been a “golden” Christmas-New Year week for Rajasthan’s tourism sector, with hotels and resorts packed with visitors and the hospitality industry expecting high revenues, mitigating some of the losses it suffered due to Covid.

The footfall of tourists in the state is the highest after the pandemic that broke out in 2020 and affected the sector in 2021 also. This time, with Covid-induced restrictions lifted, business is back on track, people associated with the tourism and hotel industry said.

The flow of domestic travellers has been more than foreigners across cities such as Jaipur, Udaipur, Jodhpur and Jaisalmer with people thronging sites of historical importance and national parks, they said.

There are around 1,200 registered hotels in state capital Jaipur and most said they are booked, some even after charging inflated room tariffs.

From Christmas eve, the last one week has been very busy for the travel trade in the state, tour operators said. The tourism season in Rajasthan starts from October and continues till March-April with people visiting historical sites, lakes, mountains, national parks and the desert.

The number of tourists who arrived in Jaipur in the last six days was around 2.5 lakh with high footfall at the Amer fort, Hawa Mahal, City Palace, Jaigarh fort and Nahargarh fort, according to official sources.

“It has been a golden week for the trade. This reflects the fact that Rajasthan is one of the top tourist destinations and will remain so,” the secretary of the Rajasthan Association of Tour Operators, Sanjay Kaushik, said.

“Hotels in Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Jaisalmer are full. Now, visitors are moving towards other destinations such as Jawai and Ranakpur in Pali, Kumbhalgarh in Rajsamand and Ranthambore in Sawai Madhopur on not finding accommodation at other prominent tourist places,” he told PTI.

In Jaipur, official sources said nearly 2.5 lakh tourists visited the city in six days, starting from December 24, a record after Covid pandemic-induced restrictions were completely lifted.

“As many as 11,786 tourists visited the Amer fort on Friday, generating an income of more than 13 lakh. The footfall is very high for one week,” an official of the department of archeology said, adding that other places of historical importance are also seeing a large number of visitors.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Jaipur North) Paris Anil Deshmukh said additional police personnel have been deployed at tourist spots in view of the heavy rush.

“Elaborate security arrangements at tourists destinations have been made and additional home guards and personnel of the Rajasthan armed constabulary have been deployed to thwart any untoward incident,” he said.

With a large number of tourists visiting the walled city area in Jaipur, its narrow roads remain clogged with vehicles.

The area, with several market places, the Hawa Mahal and the Jaipur city palace, even on normal days sees traffic congestions, but with arrival of tourist the situation has become worse, a local said.

Sayantani Mukherjee, who was touring Jaipur along with her family ahead of the weekend, said they could not reach the Amer fort because of traffic jams in the walled city area.

“We planned a tour of Jaipur ahead of the new year but there was tremendous traffic on the roads. We did not go to the fort but visited other sites. Despite the rush, it was a really good experience,” she said. The Mukherjees preferred to spend two days of their holiday in Ranthambore.

The city of lakes, Udaipur, is also seeing a high tourist footfall.

More than 1.85 lakh tourists visited the city in November, which is the highest in 12 years, a tourism department official said, adding that with Christmas-New Year on weekends, Udaipur is seeing a large number of visitors.

“The number of domestic tourists is very high this time,” Deputy Director at the Regional Tourism Office in Udaipur Shikha Saxena said.

The visiting time of some of the tourist places has been increased by two hours in view of the high footfall, the officer said.

She said that to promote night tourism like in Jaipur, possibilities are being explored in Udaipur also. Events such as the Sherpa meeting of G20 countries recently gave a boost to tourism in the city, Saxena said.

Udaipur-based tourist guide Gajendra Singh said hotels, resorts and restaurants, big or small, are packed with tourists and this is good for business.

“Tourist places are crowded like temples. Sometimes there is no place to move,” he said.

Destinations such as Pushkar and Ranthambore are also overcrowded.

“The inflow of domestic tourists has increased and the hospitality sector is back on track with good earnings in the past three months,” general manager at Ajmer’s Chitvan resort Amit Kothari said.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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