In making Udaipur a big tourist destination, retaining its reputation and also in enhancing it several agencies are involved. The tourist department provides full information about the worth visiting places to the tourists. The forest department develops places like wildlife sanctuaries, bird park and biodiversity parks to attract more visitors whereas local bodies such as the Municipal Corporation and Urban Improvement Trusts try to maintain the important spots in and around the town properly. The hospitality industry treats the tourists in a way that they can enjoy their stay thoroughly. However, tourists guides who have an important role of their own in promoting tourism do not generally get the attention they deserve.
According to Suraj Soni (Bijoliya), a popular young tourist guide in Udaipur, a good guide can make things come alive and arouse feelings of tourists that no printed books of history etc. can ever do. Live interaction between the guide and his clients has a unique impact on the latter. However, integrity and authenticity of the guide is an important factor in the profession. No wonder Lakshyaraj Singh Mewar (Prince of Udaipur) advises the guides not to try to impress tourists with myths or common exaggeration but stick to facts. To be successful in their work, they should read a lot to keep their knowledge updated. In case they do not know something they should admit it frankly instead of dolling out wrong information that creates a negative impression about the country.
There are mainly four types of certified tourist guides. Green card holders can function in Udaipur and are certified by Govt. of Rajasthan. Red card holders who are certified by the Central Govt. can work in the four zones throughout the country while for yellow card holders the area is the whole of Rajasthan.
The City Palace authorities select tourist guides on their own after taking tough tests and interviews, So far 300-350 guides have been certified after rigorous training that includes a thorough knowledge of the heritage, culture etc. They have to be properly dressed and disciplined. Their behavior is closely watched. A large number of security guards are also employed. In this way, the ‘House of Mewar’ supports a large number of families of guides and security guards. To keep the guides updated, workshops and lectures are organized regularly for which specializes in special fields such as history, culture, architecture, and behavioral psychology are invited.
About the traits of different kinds of tourists, Suraj Soni (Bijoliya) says that tourists from France are more interested in natural sites like lakes and want to know when they were dammed and in what way they are beneficial. Quite a few of them admire the floating palaces like Lake Palace, Jag Mandir, and Jag Niwas. Australian tourists are of reserved nature. They shop a lot without much bargaining. Visitors from South India ask a number of questions about history and shop a lot.Bengali tourist is well read and is curious to learn. Sometimes they tell the guides that they did not tell them certain things during their previous visit. They ask their children to listen carefully to the guide. Quite a few tourists from Gujarat like to know about the places where famous films were shot. Some tourists consider Haldighati a place of pilgrimage, kiss the earth and smear their head with the soil. There are others who want to know how Maharana Pratap’s small army was able to face Akbar’s huge forces. Tourists interested in architecture want to know who built the buildings, their style etc. whereas others are curious about how the fine arts like music and paintings flourished through the ages.Impressed by the magnificent paintings, especially the miniature ones, depicting battles, hunting, expeditions festivals etc, several tourists go in for their replicas. This has come as a big support for the dying art of painting in Udaipur. A small number of tourists show interest in spiritual personalities of Mewar like Chatursinghji and Meera Bai.
Well mannered, disciplined, knowledgeable and honest tourist guides also contribute to the development of tourism in their own way.