Cultural Heritage and Tourism Development: A Case Study of Rajasthan

Cultural Heritage and Tourism Development: A Case Study of Rajasthan

Jyoti Kumar Chandel (Birla Institute of Technology, India) and Priyanshu Sharma (Birla Institute of Technology, Jaipur, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3636-0.ch014


This chapter aims to offer valuable insight into different aspects of cultural heritage, heritage tourism, and status of cultural tourism development in the state of Rajasthan, India. Status of UNESCO World Heritage sites has been examined from the trends of visitors and revenue generation. Results of data analysis indicate the very slow annual average growth rate of international tourists to UNESCO World Heritage sites while for domestic tourists, this rate is encouraging and progressive. Institutional set up to manage heritage in Rajasthan has been examined. Important challenges faced by heritage have been described.
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Cultural tourism has evolved as a highly significant tourism segment throughout the globe due to strong motivation of visitors to get immersed in diverse cultural experiences. On the basis of activity based definition of cultural tourism, UNWTO has estimated through surveys that 47% of international tourist arrivals in the member countries have been cultural tourists while it was estimated to be 32% on the basis of visitors’ cultural participation criterion (Tourism and Culture Synergies, 2018). India is a country full of diversity and it offers diverse cultural experiences to the visitors. Cultural diversity of India has attracted a large number of domestic and international visitors on the regular basis. Domestic visitors are increasingly taking interest in the immersion of diverse cultural experiences. Cultural tourism has become an important element not only for cultural promotion but also for sustainable social and economic development of host communities. In this way, cultural tourism has evolved as one of the main factor for the wellbeing of host communities in Rajasthan as well.

Rajasthan has unique tourism assets and is an important tourism state in India. It attracts a large number of tourists due to its cultural and natural heritage as well. Rajasthan offers UNESCO world heritage sites, national heritage sites, historical places, historical buildings, monuments, archaeological sites, traditional music, traditional festivals, oral traditions, handicrafts, gastronomy, religion, performing arts, design, new media, shopping, education and wild life to cultural tourists. Tourism has significantly contributed to create employment opportunities in this state. Tourism industry is one of the important pillars of the economy and its significance is increasing day by day (Sinha & Varshney, 2017).

Cultural diversity and glorious past of Rajasthan attract millions of domestic and international tourists each year. Tourism has witnessed 21% increase from 2016 to 2018 and number has reached 51.9 million tourists in 2018 (“Good news! Rajasthan sees 21 per cent rise in tourism with 5.19 crore visitors in 2018 - Lifestyle News,” 2019) . Rajasthan’s rich heritage is exhibited through its wide range of palaces, temples, forts, museums and monuments. The state possesses some of the best heritage assets in the form of forts and palaces in the country which are spread throughout the state. Government of Rajasthan is taking continuous measures to encourage the restoration, preservation, conservation and upkeep of tangible and intangible heritage. The government’s efforts have resulted into the restoration, conservation and development of many heritage assets and some have been converted into heritage hotels and tourist complexes as well. The Government is also consistently inviting corporate sector to join hands for the conservation of heritage and monuments in the State of Rajasthan (Bansal, 2018).

State of Rajasthan occupies unique place on the global heritage tourism map. Rajasthan with its unique history, heritage and culture occupies an eminent place in India’s cultural tourism. In this state, the UNESCO World Heritage City ‘Jaipur’ has many prized global heritage assets. Colourful fairs, festivals and sociable people make it as an attractive tourist destination. Textiles, handicrafts, precious stones and jewellery are the most appealing shopping items for the tourists. Rajasthan has established its name for various tourism product categories like heritage hotels, palace on wheels, desert tourism and national parks. Heritage is valued differently by different communities and individuals depending upon their attitudes, values, beliefs, affiliations and nature of heritage resource (Singla, 2014).

Heritage literature about Rajasthan has gaps in terms of cultural tourism, trends of visitors, economic contribution of heritage and challenges face by heritage. Hence, this chapter aims to offer deep insight in to cultural tourism, UNESCO World Heritage sites and their performance in the context of tourism, management of heritage in the state of Rajasthan and heritage management challenges.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Haveli: It is a traditional mansion of rich found in Indian subcontinent.

Rajasthan: It is one of the 29 states in India which has rich history and heritage.

Mahal: It is a palace found in Indian subcontinent.

Jantar Mantar: These are astronomical observatories constructed at Jaipur, Ujjain, Mathura and Varanasi in India between 1724 and 1730 by Rajput king Jai Singh-II.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites: United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) declares these sites for better conservation and management of world heritage.

Fort: It is a fortified building which was used for military and residential purposes.

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