Published on : Friday, April 16, 2021
The second wave of COVID spreading quickly in India has put fee paid to the destiny of travel guides who were slowly recovering after experiencing massive blow in 2020 by the pandemic to the tourism industry.
Daily new cases have reached 2 lakh mark, its destructive impact has started affecting the travel once again.
Tourist guides, whose source of revenue is dependent entirely on the fee paid by a visitor who wants to learn more about his/her place of interest and monument, are overcome by a sense of misery as footfall of tourists is on the decline.
Devaraj, a guide at the historic Keshava temple at Somanathpur temple in Mysuru district, have explained that on weekdays, there were roughly 30 visitors since the last few days and it is on a decline mode from about 100 visitors per day which was the norm till a few days back. On weekends, the monument got 200 visitors and a handful of them opted for the services of a guide. However, that number is falling one again due to the second wave, he said.
“There are 8 guides at Somanathpur and we have formed two batches of 4 guides each and work on alternate days. We pool our earnings and share it amongst ourselves so that nobody goes hungry’’, said Mr. Devaraj.
Similar arrangement has been done among the guides at Belur Chennakeshava temple. There are 24 guides who have formed two batches of 12 guides each and pool their earnings.
“The scenario was improving but with the daily cases breaching the 2 lakh mark, we are not optimistic and the future appears grim again’’, said B.N. Satyanarayana Gupta, a senior guide at Belur.
He mentioned that after the first wave, there was domestic tourism revival, providing traction to the sector. However, it’s now back to square one as the footfall is constantly going down. At the Mysuru palace, daily record shows a perceptible decline. About 3,500 t0 4,000 tourists had visited the palace daily till the first week of April. But it is around 1,100 to 1,800 since April 5.