Rajasthan travel industry rues cancellation of Moroccan king’s visit

Jaipur, Oct 25 (IANS) Rajasthan’s hospitality industry feels they have lost out in a big way after the abrupt cancellation of the visit here by King Mohammed V1 of Morocco.

The Moroccan monarch was scheduled to stay at one of the top hotels in Jaipur for a couple of days before attending the 3rd India Africa Forum Summit in New Delhi.

“King of Morocco, Mohammed VI, was to come here on Saturday. Hotel rooms for his entourage were booked in at least three-four different hotels including one of the most prestigious city-based hotels. However, his booking and of his team were cancelled a couple of days back. No reason for the cancellation has been given to us,” a source in one of the hotels where his team was to stay told IANS.

As he was coming on a private visit, the government had nothing to do with his visit. The India Africa Summit begins on Monday but the main summit, attended by heads of state and government, including nearly 40 kings, presidents and prime ministers, is on October 29.

Travel pundits here blame “misinformed report” in a section of the local media on his lifestyle, his large travelling entourage and about Morocco as one of the primary reasons for the cancellation. They are seeing the cancellation as a big jolt for the tourism industry in the state.

“Look, how much of business we would have generated if he would have come here. Hotels, transportation and crafts sector would have benefited the ost. Moreover, the kind of publicity it would have generated internationally would have given a further boost to tourism in the state,” said a travel industry expert, not wishing to be identified.

“Cancellation of his trip has been a big loss for the tourism industry, I would say,” he added.

“It seems the King, who is known for his liberal and modern views on issues ranging from religion to education, and who was reportedly very keen to travel to Jaipur, must have been perturbed by wrong stories leaked to the media about him and his country before his arrival in the city. It seems after seeing these kind of misleading stories he must have cancelled his tour,” said another travel expert who also did not wish to be named.

The Moroccan embassy in New Delhi was not available for comment on Sunday.

Every year between 1.2 to 1.4 million foreign tourists visit Rajasthan, which is famous for its heritage, culture, forts and palaces and whose revenue is heavily dependent on tourism.

(Anil Sharma can be contacted at anil.s@ians.in)

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