Himachal hoteliers say crisis amid Covid-19 deepens

Shimla, Aug 16 : Himachal Pradesh hoteliers on Sunday said that the crisis in tourism industry in the state is going deeper as all tourism units have been closed since March 21.

They said the government has permitted to open the hotel in Unlock 3.0 but the rules under which the tourists are allowed to come to the state are stringent and the tourists are not showing interest in coming to the state, said a statement by the Shimla-based Tourism Industry Stakeholders Association.

According to the rules of the state Tourism Department, it is mandatory for tourists to book hotels for five days and bring Covid-19 negative report and that is not more than 72 hours old.

“In Himachal normally tourists stay at one tourist destination for one to two days. In today’s situation, all industries, trade, private and government offices have opened and it is impossible for any tourist to spare five days for holiday,” said its President Mohinder Seth.

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On the other hand, he said, the fees for conducting a Covid test from the ICMR is Rs 2,500 that is high.

“If four members of a family have to undergo the test, they have to spend Rs 10,000 and moreover tourists hesitate to get their family tested for Covid because of fear of the virus. If we talk of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Kerala, Goa, Gujarat and other states, if a traveller wants to go to these states for 72 hours, neither an e-pass nor a Covid negative report is required,” he said.

“This is the reason the hotels which are open are having negligible occupancy. Many tourists who tried to come by getting COVID negative report did not get registration. That is why the tourists are not coming to Himachal,” he said.

The association urged the government to take appropriate steps at the earliest to save the tourism industry.

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“And like other states, tourists should be allowed to come for 72 hours so that the most affected industry can get some relief,” the hoteliers said.

Also, the government should make provision for making entry by the tourists on arrival at the state borders.

Members of the hospitality industry told IANS that in recent times they have never seen such a disaster as the arrival of tourists has almost stopped, and hotel bookings vanished as the state closed its borders and imposed lockdown.

Himachal Pradesh is a major tourism destination. The contribution of the tourism sector to the state GDP is about seven per cent, a significant one.

State’s tourist footfall last year increased to 172.12 lakh, which included 3.83 lakh foreigners, from 164.50 lakh in 2018.

The highest arrival in 14 years was at 196.02 lakh in 2017.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-generated from IANS service.

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