Region:
India
Category:
Tourism

India: Tourist guides want relief package Rajasthan government due to COVID

  • India: Tourist guides want relief package  Rajasthan government due to COVID
    India: Tourist guides want relief package Rajasthan government due to COVID
  • India: Tourist guides to be part of Rajasthan government aid due to COVID
    Deepak Dhawan, Tourism guide and correspondent for ABC MUNDIAL with Karina Giorgenello India: Tourist guides to be part of Rajasthan government aid due to COVID
  • India: Tourist guides to be part of Rajasthan government aid due to COVID
    India: Tourist guides to be part of Rajasthan government aid due to COVID
Region:
India
Category:
Tourism
Author/s:
By The Times of India , Deepak Dhawan
Publication date:
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Recently, the government has included tourist guides in the list of unskilled workers with a view to provide free ration in the wake of the loss of jobs due to lockdown. But this has come as a disappointment to these guides. Acknowledging this concern of the government, however, Rishi Raj Singh, secretary of the association said that they wished to be treated on par with skilled professionals like doctors, advocates, architects and chartered accountants, while considering them for relief.

 The Covid-19 pandemic has adversely impacted many trades and professions and tourist guides aren’t spared either. These cultural ambassadors of our rich heritage not only got hit during the running tourism season, but are now also facing difficulties in earning their livelihoods.

In these testing times, while they have been looking up to government for support, a desperate move has also been consistently raging to keep the interest of global backpackers in the local heritage alive. “We have written to the state tourism minister for an appropriate relief package to make up for this tough time,” said the vice-president of Jodhpur Guide Association, Umed Singh Gehlot.

Jodhpur has 330 registered tourist guides including females, and all have been passing through a phase where the future looks bleak. “First, due to lockdown, the ongoing tourist season got abruptly aborted, forcing the tourists to return to their countries and second, there is no hope of the revival of the season at least this year,” said Umed Singh.

Their reason for being dismal about the industry reviving is not baseless. Most of the tourists, who visit Jodhpur or Rajasthan per say, are from Europe, largely from France, Germany, Italy and Spain. “These are the countries which have been hit the hardest by the pandemic. Even if the situation improved there any time soon, it would not result in people there instantly packing their bags for travelling to other countries,” Umed Singh said.

But in spite of this, they are still trying to keep their morale high. Like always, they have been religiously hitting the internet to promote the culture and heritage by posting images and fascinating stories.
A tour operator and tourist guide, Virendra Singh Chouhan, who had started three years back, said that everything done so far for promotion of tourism has been wasted. He, however, foresees another threat to the profession.

“Since these guides are dependent only on guiding, they may consider different professions for livelihood, in the face of a bleak future ahead,” he said stressing on the need for relief to them by the government, considering their contribution to the state’s exchequer, direct or indirect.

Recently, the government has included tourist guides in the list of unskilled workers with a view to provide free ration in the wake of the loss of jobs due to lockdown. But this has come as a disappointment to these guides. Acknowledging this concern of the government, however, Rishi Raj Singh, secretary of the association said that they wished to be treated on par with skilled professionals like doctors, advocates, architects and chartered accountants, while considering them for relief.

Petition:

With a large spread of COVID-19, our tourism industry in Rajasthan have taken a huge hit, earlier supporting around 15 percent economy of Rajasthan with over 40 million tourist entertained in past years, in 2020 we see a huge drop in tourists due to country border and state borders bans.

Rajasthan guides and tour leaders have always been the frontline workers in handling and accommodating the worldwide tourist, even in the beginning of COVID outbreak, we as frontline workers have ensure the safe return of our guests, making Rajasthan an example of incredible India.

Without question, public health in the face of this crisis must be the primary concern.  

we request Rajasthan government:

Job and family security - We as professional guides and tour leaders face a threat and uncertainty of our jobs and people affected by us every time India is hit by any natural or artificial disaster. 
Work recognition - After years of putting in our time and hard work, still our job has merely recognised by institutions granting loans.
Employer responsibilities -  After years of working freelance or permanent tour operators, employers still treating guides and tour leaders as replaceable objects regardless of people and families affected with us.
Aid grants by the Rajasthan government  - Due to COVID outbreak no aid sanction by Rajasthan government, as frontline workers working for sustainable tourism, we have been neglected by Rajasthan government and neglected by our employers due to less or in some situations no rights we have, also no major aid been sanction by Rajasthan government for Guides and tour leaders for us who as a whole are major reason for an incredible experience in Rajasthan.

 

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