Kullu-Manali tourism industry on the edge

Kullu-Manali tourism industry on the edge

Foreign tourists form the backbone of the hotel industry in Kullu-Manali. Lakhs of people from different countries visit these hill stations every year. FILE PHOTO

Dipender Manta

Tribune News Service

Mandi, March 15

Tourism industry of Kullu-Manali is on the edge in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak in India. The hotel industry of Kullu-Manali is feeling the pinch for the last one week as there has been no advance booking for stay in Manali.

Foreign tourists form the backbone of the hotel industry in Kullu-Manali as lakhs of people from different countries visit these hill stations every year. In the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak, the Union Government has restricted the movement of foreign visitors and decided to cancel visas that had been granted to nationals from Italy, Iran, South Korea and Japan on or before March 3.

The hoteliers of Kullu-Manali are worried about the upcoming tourist season because the impact of Covid-19 on tourism industry is clearly visible now. If the situation remains the same, it would have a drastic impact on the industry here.

Hoteliers of Kullu-Manali say there has been a sharp decline in new bookings. They say every year beginning mid-March, their business begins to increase and by April, the tourist season is on full swing. Domestic and foreign tourists start booking in advance for their stay in April or May but this time, there are no such queries.

The hoteliers of Kullu-Manali are demanding a “tax holiday” and monetary compensation from state and Union Government to sustain themselves. After horticulture and agriculture sectors, tourism is the biggest sector, which provides employment to people. In Kullu district, the livelihood of hundreds of families is dependent on the tourism industry.

Talking to The Tribune, Anup Thakur, president of hoteliers association of Kullu-Manali, said the Covid-19 outbreak would have a drastic impact on the tourism industry in the coming days.

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