Though the whole nation stands shell-shocked after the Mumbai carnage, its after effects too would be no less distressing. The domestic tourism industry has already been pushed to the brink with major western countries issuing travel advisories asking their nationals to avoid traveling to India. And with Christmas and New Year season just around the corner, hoteliers across the country are now keeping their fingers crossed. Himachal Pradesh has even more reasons to worry with tourism as its major economic activity.
HimVani spoke to few hoteliers in the state, who, of course are a worried lot now. Renu Baljees, a hotelier in Shimla, said, “We will see less tourists traveling from Maharashtra during the New Year period. But it will not affect people traveling from Delhi and other North Indian cities.” Another hotelier, Mr. Pathania, echoed the same sentiments saying tourist arrival from Mumbai would certainly dip this season. Two foreign groups which were scheduled to stay at his hotel have been cancelled following the attack in Mumbai. When probed about the government’s move to install close-circuit cameras at hotel receptions to keep vigil on tourists’ movement into hotels, he said they were against such a move as this was something against the privacy of a tourist. But he advocated the need for installing scanners to check guest luggage.
Hoteliers in Manali also sounded cautious about the Christmas/ New Year season. Himvani spoke to Buddhi Prakash Thakur, hotelier from Manali. “Mumbai and Maharashtra accounts for 25-30% tourists arrivals during this period as Manali is a preferred honeymoon destination and the current situation in the country will make the people think twice before traveling. Incidents of terror activities and other agitations have hit Manali hotel industry hard this year,” he said. Thakur elaborated that first it was the Gujjar agitation that led to cancellation of bookings and then the serial blasts in Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Jaipur and Delhi made the conditions unfavorable for the travelling public. Now the Mumbai attack has killed the spirit of tourism in the country, he added. He was all in favour of installing CC cameras and luggage scanners in hotels as tourists must realize that this is for their safety only.
Dalhousie hoteliers too seemed worried about the coming season getting washed out. Ashish Chaddha, a prominent hotelier in Dalhousie, seemed worried about the hotel industry getting hit by acts of terrorism in the country. “Vacations are going to be the last things in the minds of people till the time they do not feel secure and will prefer to stay indoors. Dalhousie is a preferred destination for Maharashtrians during this time of the year and with the happenings in Mumbai, the hoteliers will be hit hard as majority of the hotels cater to group tour operators from Western India,” he said.
Indicators for the overall tourism sector seems gloomy. The current economic meltdown has witnessed reduction in leisure and business travel. Added to it the ongoing commission war between agents and airlines and now the terror attack on Mumbai are all heavy blows to the travel and tourism industry. Probably, a fallout of these attacks would ensure that safety and security would become of paramount importance in India, like it happened in the US after 9/11. The tourism industry too has no option but to take precautionary measure before it can limp back to normalcy.
Any terrorist attack in such a manner which happened in Mumbai this week also unearthed our security forces functioning and directly created the panic to the foreigners tourist that they are not safe in the country as the England Cricket team returned home without playing the series.
especially some Israeli killed in Nariman House definitely loss the tourist from Israel which was the major tourist center for India.
Govt must take some steps to ensure the foreigners tourist security and safety India, other wise not only the samll hotels but big hotels will also suffer lot.
Kolkatta and Goa have asked people visiting these places to bring identity proof while checkin at the hotels. The same should be implemented in Himachal also.
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