81% fall in tourist arrivals in 2020

81% fall in tourist arrivals in 2020

The tourist arrival was minimal in the peak tourist season from April to June and total number of domestic and foreign tourists was 197 and 60.

Bhanu P Lohumi

Tribune News Service

Shimla, February 21

Hit by the Covid pandemic and lockdowns, the tourism sector in Himachal witnessed an unprecedented fall of 81.4 per cent in tourist arrivals during 2020 as compared to the preceding year (2019).

The state received 31,70,714 domestic and 42,665 foreign tourists in 2020 compared to 1,68,29,231 domestic and 3,82,876 foreign tourists in 2019, a drop of 81.6 per cent and 88.86 per cent respectively.

Night curfew, closing markets on Sundays blamed

  • Tourism associations blame decisions like night curfew and closing markets on Sundays for poor inflow of tourists
  • The inauguration of Atal Tunnel emerged as a hotspot and 3,58,249 and 10,460 tourists visited Kullu and Lahaul-Spiti from Oct to Dec
  • The tourism and allied industry had suffered a loss of Rs2,500 cr in 2020, said president, Manali Hoteliers Association, Anup Thakur

The tourist arrival was minimal in the peak tourist season from April to June and the total number of domestic and foreign tourists was 197 and 60. The comparative figures were 53,62,378 and 1,25,399 in 2019.

The impact of the lockdown can be gauged from the fact that out of total 31,70,714 domestic and 42,665 foreign tourists who visited the state during 2020, the pre-lockdown months of January, February and March accounted for 21,63,634 domestic and 31,648 foreigners. The figures imply that only 10,07,080 domestic and 11,017 foreigners visited the state from April to December.

No foreign tourists visited Bilaspur and Hamirpur districts while only eight foreigners visited Una, followed by Kinnaur (111), Lahaul and Spiti (155), Chamba (192), Mandi (405) and Sirmaur (454). The maximum number of 21,111 foreign tourists visited Shimla district while Kangra, Kullu and Solan districts received 9,921, 7,080 and 3,228 foreign guests.

Even after the lockdown and relaxations in Covid pandemic restrictions, only 9,26,444 tourists visited the state in October, November and December against 24,97,715 in the corresponding months in 2019.

The tourism associations blame decisions like night curfew and closing markets on Sundays for poor inflow of tourists.

However, the inauguration of engineering marvel, Atal Tunnel Rohtang, emerged as a hotspot and 3,58,249 and 10,460 tourists visited Kullu and Lahaul and Spiti districts from October to December.

The tourism and allied industry has suffered a loss of Rs 2,500 crore (approx) in 2020, said president, Manali Hoteliers Association, Anup Thakur. Losses between March and October were over 95 per cent, said president, Federation of Himachal Hotels and Restaurant Associations, Ashwani Bamba.

As per the data with the Tourism Department, the state breached the one crore mark in 2009 with 1,14,37,155 tourists visiting the state while the highest number of 1,96,01,533 tourists visited the state in 2017. There was a gradual increase in tourist inflow from 2009 barring 2013 and 2018 when a negative trend was witnessed, but 2020 was the worst.

However, the statistics do not reflect the exact number of tourists as tourists visiting more than one place are counted separately while the number of tourists staying in illegal hotels and other accommodations are not accounted for.

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