Covid effect: Raj hotels turn land into farms, plan spice and street tours to woo travellers

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Green fields on open land are something we see quite often, but if we see open green fields at the periphery of hotel properties, it might leave us surprised!

Rajasthan hoteliers are now trying out innovations to overcome the pandemic blues. These innovations are running high in boutique properties located in Rajasthan’s tourist cities like Udaipur and Jodhpur where new packages and newer experiences are being created for new age travellers, who have turned health conscious. They want healthy food cooked in traditional ways while staying in off-beat locations.

“This is the segment which we are receiving ever since the pandemic hit us hard. This group of travellers comes from the IT sector. Work-from-home gave them the freedom to work from any part of India and hence we have been getting small families and groups from Mumbai, Bengaluru, Gurugram and Delhi,” said Ravindra Nath Purohit, General Manager, Ramya Resort & Spa, Udaipur, which claims to be India’s youngest high-end luxury resort.

Showcasing a contemporary Thai-Balinese decor, the property is now focusing on domestic travellers and is all set to hire local people trained in home cooked food on the tandoor and chulha so that guests can be introduced to the old world charm of cooking.

Via these initiatives, we shall hire more local people and create jobs during the pandemic, Purohit said, adding, “The new age traveller is workaholic but also wants to take a break from the hectic city life. He along with his family wants to experience the delights of organic food, while being introduced to the traditional ways of cooking. Hence we are making newer packages for this segment and are working on converting the open land into organic fields where guests can pluck vegetables, fruits of their choice which shall be served to them after being cooked on the local ‘chulha’ and tandoor.”

Another hotelier Varun Jalan from Daspan House Jodhpur said, “Our property was launched in December 2019 and soon after came the pandemic. Hence we could not get much time to think afresh. Meanwhile, the lockdown gave us a chance to innovate. As we were getting the IT crowd from Mumbai and Gujarat, we planned to bring in spice street tours along with street tours to the local bangle market, chat market and other such streets so that the kids of the next generation can get an insight into the small city charm.”

“We have tied up with small companies who are taking our guests on tours to organic farms etc. Also, we shall take travellers to nearby villages where they can see how the local Bishnoi community cares for animals like deer and black bucks.”

Both the hoteliers accepted that the pandemic has proved the adage ‘Small is Beautiful’ and hence they have been hosting small groups and a small number of wedding guests during the last two years. The connectivity to the two cities from the major metropolitan cities has helped them to get more guests.

“Earlier, the wedding chunk went to big hotels, however, now the guests are visiting us and enjoying the charm of staying together,” he added.

The tourist state witnessed a dip of 72.19 per cent in foreign arrivals and 71.05 per cent in domestic tourists in 2020 due to the pandemic.

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