Reeling under intense pressure due to subsequent Covid waves, the hotel industry in Rajasthan has been left crippled, and it is hoping the forthcoming state budget to turn their fortunes.
The third wave of Corona has dealt a severe blow to the tourism industry in the desert state. Most of the hotels have sacked their 50 per cent staff, while those who have not done the same are struggling to keep their business running, Gajendra Luniwal, President of Jaipur Hotel Association, told IANS.
“This time, we have high expectations from the state budget. The dying hotel industry has urged the Rajasthan government to provide interest-free loans for next five months. We need to make payments to our staff and when there are no guests coming, it is difficult for us to make payments to them,” he said.
After the first two waves of Covid, the hotel industry started picking up pace in September last year and was a little stable in December, but then came the guidelines of restrictions.
Eventually, the tourists cancelled their bookings, marriages were postponed leaving the hoteliers again in losses, Luniwal said.
Most wedding bookings went to Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh Haryana borders. Eventually, many hotels have been left on the verge of closure; there are around 20 per cent hotels which are yet to open after being shut for the past two years.
“We contribute 22 per cent revenues to the state’s GDP, and hence we expect help from the government in the upcoming budget,” Luniwal said.
Meanwhile, when the state budget is being looked upon with high hopes, the Union Budget for tourism has offered some silver linings for the hospitality and tourism industry.
Apart Kumar, President, Federation of Hospitality and Tourism of Rajasthan (FHTR), said that some proposals made in the Union Budget will boost the tourism sector.
“Tourism will have a positive impact through investments in roads and railways. An increased focus in digital marketing will help in promotion,” he said.
It needs to be mentioned here that the number of guests has almost halved in the state.
In December 2021, 6.10 lakh tourists visited Rajasthan, while only 3.43 lakh tourists visited the state in January this year, Kumar said.