Leading heritage hoteliers in Rajasthan on Friday said hospitality industry in the state can play a big role in ensuring dignified job opportunities for the state's available work force of over two crore.
On the second day of the 7th Annual Convention of the Indian Heritage Hotels Association (IHHA) held in Bharatpur on Friday, IHHA President Gaj Singh of Jodhpur said protecting the built heritage and conserving the local traditional and cultural values of communities is a must for sustainable development.
"The industry needs to continuously innovate keeping in mind the architecture and historically significant features of heritage properties to generate new activities for the tourists," Singh said.
The convention also took up this year's theme of 'Reinventing India as a Heritage Destination'. Conference Chairman and Honorary Vice President IHHA, Steve Borgia said: "We must realise that our heritage is in danger. Without heritage, there will be no tourism and no stories left to tell the visitors."
Co-Founder and Chair of Neemrana Hotels, Aman Nath, contended that it is the government vision and the citizens' aspirations that need reinventing "not the country as the destination."
"Hoteliers should create an experience which is so unique that it remains with the people throughout their lives," Nath said.
Head/Chair at Australian Museums, Vinod Daniel, highlighted global approaches in managing heritage, both tangible and intangible. He also threw light on several best practices both on national and state level. Placing emphasis on curating a well-devised strategy, he said the plan needs to be implemented over several political cycles.
Author of Destination India, International Tourism Consultant, Navin Berry, said over the decades the understanding of tourism has dramatically enlarged and has transformed into a completely different entity.
"From sightseeing, it has expanded to cover a much wider gamut of activities. It encompasses weddings, experiential tourism, among others. While travel has become a hassle-free exercise owing to technology, the tourism industry itself has been found reluctant in chasing these new streams," Berry said.
In her presentation, Director, Preservation of Sites and Monuments- National Heritage Board, Singapore, Jean Wee, shared some of Singapore's experiences as well as reflections on how some projects from around the world have achieved success.
She said often heritage preservation brings out the worst in everyone as it starts with a major difference in opinion. "However, preservation must be a shared pre-occupation. It should offer all stakeholders a value proposition for commitment, participation and support," she said.
Director, Department of Archaeology and Museums, Government of Telangana, N.R. Visalatchy outlined the efforts being made for preservation and excavation of monuments in the state.
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