December 2014 \ Arts & Entertainment \ Tourism

By Anil Sharma

Rajasthan, one of India's top tourism destinations, is now eyeing the meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) market in a big way, stakeholders say.

MICE market is one of the exciting and the fast growing segments and Rajasthan, being one of the favourite tourism destinations, offers everything a business traveler wants, they say. If industry pundits are to be believed, tour operators, travel agents and hotel companies are all eyeing the Rajasthan MICE market as one with great potential for growth.

Big conferences and functions like the Jaipur Literature Festival, Stonemart - an international exhibition of dimensional stones, Vastra - an international textile and apparel exhibition and various big doctors' conferences are only some of the events held here in the recent past.

Besides this, small exhibitions and conferences are held regularly in the state in cities like Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Jaisalmer, Ajmer/Pushkar and other cities. If trade experts are to be believed, then two or three small or big conference are held in the state daily.

The state offers everything, except beaches and-snow clad mountains. One can choose from well-connected cities like Jaipur, Jodhpur and Udaipur to historical and even wildlife sanctuaries.

"Besides this, the desert state can also arrange for conventionalizing theme conferences," a tourism department official said.

"With facilities like convention centers, good and cheap transportation and communication facilities, along with good hotel accommodation, Rajasthan certainly is good destination for the MICE market," travel agent Karan Singh says.

"The desert state is the best place to mix leisure with tourism, so why can't it be developed as a MICE destination," he said, adding: "The state can also arrange for conventionalizing theme conferences. Moreover the state offers good communications facilities like telephones and the Internet, which are a necessary part of business tourism."

A senior official of the tourism department said Rajasthan is not only about an aristocratic ambiance, it makes business sense too. The state offers luxury in heritage accommodation and great sightseeing and entertainment along with its famed traditional hospitality.

Moreover, thematic shows and mock festivals are readily arranged on choice.

Meanwhile, good days are here for tourism in Rajasthan if the increase in the number of arrivals is any indication. As per the latest records, there is distinct increase in the number of domestic tourists from January to September at 266 lakh - an increase of 8 percent - against 246 lakh in the corresponding period last year.

"Similarly, there has been an increase in the number of foreign tourist arrivals from January to September this year - 10.20 lakh - an increase of 8.69 percent - from 9.38 lakh in the corresponding period last year," Rajasthan's tourism director, Vikram Singh, says.

The new tourism policy, which is under preparation would give a further fillip to tourism in Rajasthan, he added.