Ahead of Rajasthan Assembly polls, Jodhpur seeks strategies to boost tourism

| Updated: 23 November, 2023 4:49 pm IST

Jodhpur, the vibrant desert city of Rajasthan, renowned as the Sun City and the Blue City, is buzzing with political fervour as the upcoming polls draw near. While the city boasts rich historical attractions, including forts, a clock tower, bustling bazaars, and an array of culinary delights, the residents are putting tourism at the forefront of their concerns.

As the second-largest city in the desert state, Jodhpur relies heavily on tourism for employment and economic sustenance. The city, known for its cultural richness and architectural marvels, attracts both Indian and international tourists in substantial numbers.

Amidst the political rallies and meetings hosted by the BJP and the Congress in prominent city hotels, the local populace, while speaking with The New Indian, echoed a common sentiment – a call for enhanced tourism infrastructure and improved transportation. The residents, ranging from shopkeepers to auto drivers, and even tourist guides,  advocated for comprehensive strategies to boost tourism in the city.

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Sardar Market, a historic landmark established in 1910 during the reign of Raja Sardar Singh, stands as a testament to Jodhpur’s heritage. The 100-foot-tall clock tower at the market’s centre, manufactured by London’s Lund & Blockley Co., has become a focal point for tourists.

Vikram Bishnoi, a 36-year-old shop owner in the Sardar market area, emphasised the importance of year-round tourism to sustain businesses that often face a six-month off-season. He expressed the desire for the incoming government to devise strategies that attract tourists consistently throughout the year.

“Our business operates for six months, and the remaining half is an off-season for us. The upcoming government should implement improved strategies to attract more tourists, subsequently boosting our business. Our livelihood depends on tourists, and they tend to avoid visiting during the summer period. Therefore, we seek initiatives that encourage year-round tourism, preventing a blank period of six months. While we appreciate Ashok Gehlot’s schemes, we aspire for further enhancements,” he told The New Indian.

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Suresh Bishnoi, a 27-year-old licensed guide, voiced concerns about the state of roads and the need for better-developed tourist spots. He called for government policies that create job opportunities for local guides and ensure their job permanency.

Ganesh Bishnoi, 36, drew parallels with the tourism development model implemented by Prime Minister Modi in Gujarat, urging a similar approach for Jodhpur. He highlighted the need for the city’s defence airport to transform into a public airport with increased connectivity.

Mool Singh, 37, an auto rickshaw driver, raised concerns about the quality of roads, emphasising the negative impact on the tourist experience. He called for more focused government policies and budget allocations for the tourism sector.

“On numerous occasions, when accompanying tourists, they express dissatisfaction with the condition of roads and the lack of development in certain areas that could be attractive tourist spots. It is crucial for improvements to be made in these aspects. Additionally, concerning employment at the government level, tourist guides like us should have access to job opportunities, and there should be schemes providing better prospects for the younger generation in our profession. The implementation of policies supporting job permanency would be highly beneficial,” he said.

Jodhpur’s tourist destinations contribute significantly to the state’s economy, and residents believe that the city can further establish itself on the world stage with targeted and effective development initiatives.

While previous announcements, such as the status of industry groups for tourism and tax relief, were made by the incumbent Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, the residents feel that the implementation has fallen short. As the election approaches, Jodhpur’s residents are looking for specific and impactful changes that cater to the unique needs of their beloved Blue City.

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