Jaipur: Amid the ongoing pandemic, weddings have helped revive the hotel sector in Rajasthan which was left bleeding during and post the lockdown period. The hoteliers in the desert state stay afloat amid the pandemic, courtesy the Indian weddings which are not big and fat but have trimmed in size. Yet, they have the potential to keep the hospitality industry going amid the tough times.

According to Sandeep Lodha, CEO, OYO's Weddingz.in, "In last one month, 6000 queries have been received by us for a wedding in Rajasthan."

"There are two emerging trends -- smaller weddings and domestic weddings -- being seen these days. Rajasthan stands to benefit the most from these trends as the demand for weddings in Rajasthan is already very high," he added.

He was speaking in the webinar on "Wedding Tourism - Positioning Rajasthan as Wedding Capital of India" held on the virtual platform recently, organised by FICCI and Rajasthan Tourism.

Addressing the same webinar, Commissioner, Rajasthan Foundation, Dhiraj Srivastava, said, "Wedding tourism and destination weddings can be a significant game-changer for the Rajasthan hospitality industry. Government of Rajasthan hence recognises the huge opportunity. The latest tourist policy seeks to diversify existing tourism products giving priority to lesser-known destinations and improve visitors' experience including destination weddings. According to the policy's guidelines to be released soon, wedding destinations will be identified, graded and listed to facilitate wedding planners and management firms," he added.

Executive Director, HRH Group of Hotels, Lakshyaraj Singh Mewar said that the cities of this state, like Udaipur, have created an identity for themselves. Besides being the city of lakes, Udipur is today known as a prominent wedding destination competing with Lake Como, Italy.

Prithvi Singh, a renowned hotelier told IANS, "Weddings have come as a great saviour to us when travel remains suspended. No doubt that hotel occupancy has grown in the wedding season, but the enormous discounts being offered during pandemic times speaks volumes about our fight to survive and it reflects how compromising with price has become mandatory for our sustenance," he said.

During the lockdown, we sensed how weddings will emerge as our saviour and hence we started a campaign targeting best wedding planners for our hotels. The initiative was quite successful as we started getting bookings for our properties from different places, he added.

Chairman, Shahpura Hotels, Surendra Singh Shahpura said that rural areas also need to be developed as wedding destinations so that smaller hotels can benefit from wedding tourism. Marriage destinations in Rajasthan will help the hotel sector bounce back to where it was in March 2020.

Co-Chairman, FICCI Rajasthan State Council & CMD, Mandawa Hotels, Randhir Vikram Singh said that weddings are now smaller and more intimate, emphasising on the need for strict hygiene standards. Rajasthan is competitively placed to harness this potential segment. This is due to better connectivity, the splendour of heritage properties and modern architecture.

General Secretary, The Event and Entertainment Management Association, Siddhartha Chaturvedi said that Rajasthan is already one of the favourite places to have a wedding in India. Best of world-class solutions are easily available here. However, the State has not fully exploited the wedding industry. As many as 10 more destinations can be created to promote wedding destinations in the State, he added.

(IANS/Archana Sharma)

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