Shikha Saxena, Deputy Director, Regional Tourism Office, Udaipur was given special mention in the Chief Ministers State level meeting held on 27 September on the occasion of World Tourism Day. Her name was selected for a special award for praiseworthy publicity of Udaipur division and pioneering Adventure Tourism in the Udaipur region.
During the initial months of the pandemic and lockdown as well as afterward, when the tourism industry was being revived from its forced slumber, Shikha has been proactive in looking after the wellbeing of tourists, both domestic and international, as well as ensuring that the Udaipur tourism gets back on its feet swiftly, by enabling various inclusive programs. Apart from her work and efforts towards reviving the staple industry of Udaipur, Shikha has played a special role in helping the tourists who were stranded in Udaipur during the lockdown and helping them get back home.
When the initial COVID Lockdown was announced in March 2020, a lot of foreign tourists were left stranded in Udaipur and around. Shikha took it upon herself to ensure that these tourists flew back to their parent countries safely and under full health protocol. Nearly 115 Tourists from America, Europe, Australia, etc. were helped by Shikha and the channels she created with her own effort.
Her team coordinated with travel agents across the country and ensured that the stranded tourists get to Delhi and Mumbai and then onward to their respective parent countries. Her coordination with the higher authorities to facilitate smooth transfers of tourists, in the absence of support from the respective country consulates and embassies ensured that the tourists reach their homes.
Not only were the regular flights cancelled, even travel from Udaipur to Delhi or Mumbai was getting difficult. None of the international airlines had facilitated bookings on their portals. Shikha took to connecting with travel booking agents who were working from home and got the tourists home. Transfer from Udaipur to Delhi and Ahmedabad by road was facilitated by urgent issue of travel passes from the administration. Every check post was contacted so that the tourists reach the airport safely. Shikha was designated the Officer in Charge at the airport. The Udaipur administration had allocated a team under her.
Shikha narrates that at one time a tourist transfer vehicle broke down midway. The tourism department at Udaipur facilitated another vehicle immediately. In another instance, a French tourist was in need of a special diet, which could be procured only from Noida. In the difficult lockdown situation, her team even managed to get the special diet for the tourist from Noida. The French embassy has also appreciated this effort by Shikha. At the local level, she got praiseworthy assistance from the Police Control Room, the Medical Control Room and the Udaipur Administration Control Room. As per Shikha this team was working round the clock.
“The common man has turned himself into a Corona Warrior and is serving people. We have just helped the tourists to get back home. Their pain is no less that they have been away from their country and their people. Tourists are dear to us. If need be we need to go beyond our responsibility domain and answer this call of duty to help them” – Shikha Saxena.
During the lockdown and thereafter, when international flights carrying NRIs were permitted, Shikha with assistance from the Collectors office facilitated quarantine facilities for NRIs and for those coming by rail or road. During the earlier part of the lockdown, there were many tourists who were not willing to go to their parent countries due to severe COVID situations there. They were also being looked after by the Tourism Department. Any tourist wishing to leave was assisted to the very end. The District Collector of Udaipur has felicitated Shikha for her efforts in this cause.
“I will never forget what the Tourism Department and Udaipur Administration has done for me. I would like to give a medal to the Deputy Director of Tourism Department, Shikha Saxena for her assistance. She is a great lady who is dedicated to tourists” – a tourist from Sweden
“I am overjoyed. I reached home on Thursday, after 4 days of being away. A big thanks to the people from the Udaipur administration” – a tourist from Germany
These and many such efforts by the Tourism Department of Udaipur, under the leadership of Shikha Saxena, who is an Administrative Services officer has made Udaipur proud once again. Shikha has her roots in Udaipur and has pledged to make the city sync its tourism aptitude with its culture and heritage.