Decline in tourist influx worries stakeholders in Kullu : The Tribune India

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Decline in tourist influx worries stakeholders in Kullu

Accuse govt of lax approach | Say nothing done to improve infra

Decline in tourist influx worries stakeholders in Kullu

Photo for representation. File photo

Abhinav Vashisht

Kullu, May 26

After growing steadily for the past couple of decades, the tourist influx in the district saw a sudden decline after 2017. The trend continued in 2018 and 2019.

Drastic plunge in tourist influx was witnessed amid Covid in 2020 and 2021. Last year also arrivals were less than that in 2019. Tourism industry stakeholders have raised concern over the declining number of tourists in the district over the years.

Several projects underway

  • DTDO Sunayna Sharma says several projects to promote tourism in the region have been accomplished while many others are underway
  • Rs 8.36 crore has been spent on creating a water sports centre at Larji dam
  • Wayside amenities have been created at various tourist spots
  • Tourist information centres are being developed at popular destinations
  • A ropeway to the Bijli Mahadev temple has been approved

The Tourism Department date reveals that while 37.32 lakh domestic and 1.33 lakh foreign tourists arrived in Kullu in 2017, the number was 29.12 lakh and 96,201 in 2018. Similarly, 2019 saw 30.56 lakh domestic and 1.02 lakh foreign tourist arrivals in Kullu. Amid Covid, just 7.63 lakh domestic and 7,080 foreign tourists arrived in the district in 2020.

Last year, the arrivals picked up with 28.76 lakh domestic and 3,706 foreign tourists arriving in Kullu, which is the lowest in the past five years, barring the Covid-hit period of 2020 and 2021.

Stakeholders rue that the lackadaisical approach of the government is leading to decline of the tourism industry, which is the backbone of the region’s economy. They allege that nothing has been done over the years to improve the infrastructure in the region to boost tourism. They said various governments had failed to harness the state’s tourism potential.

Hotelier Parmanand said heavy green tax was collected from tourist vehicles entering Manali, besides permit fee and congestion charges to visit the Rohtang Pass, but the entire region lacks even basic amenities. He said various restrictions and curbs on tourism spots and activities also contributed to the trend of decline in the graph of tourist arrivals.

Budhi Prakash Thakur, an entrepreneur, said the government lacked the vision and understanding to harness tourism potential. He said there’s a need to rope in experts and specialists.

“Increasing airfares to the valley are another reason behind the decline in tourist footfall. While subsidised airfares are provided to J&K, Leh and many northeastern states to promote tourism, the monopolistic regional national carrier operating here was charging unregulated exorbitant fares,” he alleged.

The masses associated with the tourism industry said with no rail connectivity and poor air and road network, the arrivals might further go down if the government did not take necessary steps in time. They said adequate marketing of the tourism products should be done to attract visitors.


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