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HindustanTimes Mon,22 Sep 2014

Chinese incursions hit tourism business in Ladakh

PTI  Leh, September 15, 2013
First Published: 11:23 IST(15/9/2013) | Last Updated: 11:25 IST(15/9/2013)

Not all publicity is good publicity. At least, not for Ladakh! Local traders feel media reporting of Chinese incursions have hit the business hard this year.

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At Panaroma Hotel, which offers typical Ladakhi food, the business is down this season.

“We are running this hotel for the past 20 years or so and every year there is good business happening. But this season it is not so good.

The condition got worse as lot of tourists who had booked the rooms, cancelled their reservation as the news of Chinese incursions came out," said a senior staff member of the hotel. He, however, didn’t wish to be named.

"Generally we have 100% occupancy, but this season is it is almost down to 50%. We are hoping things will be better," he added.

Leh View cafe, which is in the market area, has a similar story.

"We have been doing business for eight years, but this is one of the worst seasons for us. Our business is only little over 30% this season. This is to due to the Chinese incursions," the owner Muzamil Billai, who came to Ladakh from Kashmir, said.

People at Thongsal Resort, who are in this business since 20 years, too, reported a drop in foreign tourists this season.

The local market here offers a variety of knick-knacks for tourists like woollen clothes to Tibetan jewellery, bags, footwear, carpets and local food at various cafes and restaurants, but things have not been very great business-wise this season.

At Amulet Nepal shop Dinesh Raj Singh, the owner, offers a variety of woollen clothes and T-shirts.

"For all of us July to August-September is a peak season as lot of tourists come here. But this season, business is down everywhere here. Besides Chinese incursions, the rising prices of the airfare are also the reason for this downfall," Singh said.

Even the Refugee Market, where a lot of local people set up stalls and sell Tibetan jewellery is facing a slump.

"We just started this business a year ago, last year was pretty good, but this time the case is different. We are not making profit despite selling accessories at lower prices. We are already facing electricity issues and on top of this business is decreasing. We are trying to venture into other business," Boomlaji, a shopper, said.

Jammu and Kashmir urban development minister Rigzin Jora, too, had expressed displeasure over media coverage of Chinese incursion as it brought down tourism while opening the Ladakh International Film Festival on Friday.


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