This Losar, foreign tourists give festivities at Dharamsala a miss : The Tribune India

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This Losar, foreign tourists give festivities at Dharamsala a miss

This Losar, foreign tourists give festivities at Dharamsala a miss


Tribune News Service

Lalit Mohan

Dharamsala, February 11

Losar, Tibetan New Year, has failed to draw tourists to Dharamsala, the seat of the Tibetan government-in-exile, this time. The three-day Losar celebrations began at McLeodganj yesterday. Earlier, a large number of foreign tourists used to throng Dharamsala to witness Losar festivities.

Footfall reduced due to Israel war

Losar celebrations used to attract a lot of international tourists to Dharamsala, who would participate in cultural events organised by the Tibetan government-in-exile. However, due to the war in Israel, the footfall of international tourists in the area has been severely impacted. — Sanjeev Gandhi, General Secy, smart city Dharamsala hotel and restaurant association

Sanjeev Gandhi, general secretary of the Smart City Dharamsala Hotel and Restaurant Association, said that Losar celebrations used to attract a lot of international tourists to Dharamsala, who would participate in cultural events organised by the Tibetan government-in-exile. However, due to the war in Israel, the footfall of international tourists in the area had been severely impacted. Israeli tourists comprised a majority of international tourists coming to Dharamsala, he added.

Navneet Thakur, a hotelier, said that international tourists visiting the institutes of the Tibetan government-in-exile were the mainstay of the tourism industry in Dharamsala. However, the number of international tourists coming to the area had declined over the years. The tourism industry and the state government would have to come up with new ideas to face new challenges, he added.

Ashwani Bamba, president of the Hotel and Tourism Industry of Kangra, said that the tourist inflow in Himachal as a whole had been declining due to the international scenario and competition from Jammu and Kashmir. “We have requested the government to professionally market the state as a tourist destination as we cannot rely on the natural inflow of tourists for sustainability,” he added.

Meanwhile, people associated with the tourism industry have submitted suggestions to the state government for tourism promotion. Gandhi said, “We have submitted suggestions to the government and are expecting some major announcements for the tourism sector in the forthcoming Budget. Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu has announced that Kangra will be made the tourism capital of the state. We hope that in the current year, the projects announced for Kangra district will be implemented.”

RS Bali, Chairman of the Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation, said that the government was working on a plan to increase the number of tourists in the state from two crore to five crore annually. The Tourism Department was seeking suggestions from the stakeholders to be incorporated in the plan to be implemented in the current year for tourism promotion, he added.

Besides, there would be a considerable push to tourism infrastructure in the state through the Rs 2,500 crore ADB project to be implemented in near future, he said.

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