Published on : Thursday, March 4, 2021
An unexpected surge in corona virus cases in different parts of India has brought a gloom over the approaching summer tourist season in Dharamsala. Hoteliers have reported cancelation of room bookings by tourists in the past 10 days. After the recent eruption in Covid cases, very few bookings have been received for the summer season.
Ashwani Bamba, the president of the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Dharamsala said, “The summer season (April to June) is the bread and butter of the tourism industry of the region. In April and May, tourists from Gujarat and Maharashtra visit Dharamsala. However, due to the spurt in Covid cases in some states, tourists are cancelling their room bookings. We are trying to convince the tourists but those from Maharashtra, where a lockdown is being reimposed, are expressing their helplessness”.
Bamba said that last year, the tourism industry suffered a lot of losses. If this season also gets affected for any reason, most of the properties of the hotel owners raised with loans would most probably become non-performing assets (NPAs).
Hoteliers have said that states like Uttarakhand, Rajasthan and Goa have done well to attract tourists. However, in Himachal, in spite of the fact that the tourism industry provides huge direct and indirect investment, there’s no such attempt to attract tourists safe and securely. Even subsidized credit to the hoteliers announced by the state government has not reached small and medium sized hotels.
The hoteliers are now optimistic that tourists from Punjab, Haryana and Delhi will visit the state during the summer. They opine that the Atal Tunnel has become a major attraction for tourists, who prefer visiting there. It can thus affect tourism business in other parts of the state, including Dharamsala.