No impact of note ban on tourist inflow in MP, says govt
At a time when the local traders at tourist sites are crying foul over the impact of demonetization on their business, a press release issued by the ministry of tourism on Thursday has claimed that currency ban has had little impact on inflow of tourists in MP.
The release also said currency ban has not affected foreign tourists’ arrival or for that matter foreign exchange earnings in the country.
The report shows figures to corroborate the claim. According to the release, there has been a remarkable rise in sale of e-tickets in the last two months. “A total of 9131 foreigners visited various sites of Madhya Pradesh in October while in November, 12,445 foreigners visited MP. However, this is the usual trend every year,” said Zulfiqar Ali, superintending archaeologist, ASI, Bhopal.
Sudesh Tamrakar, senior tourist adviser said, “Local tourist inflow has reduced but the number of foreigners visiting the tourist sites remains the same. Overall, the difference is insignificant.”
Madhur Sharma, a tourist operator, however tells otherwise. “The tourist guides who are not registered with state government, used to have an easy time drawing Rs 100-1000 from a tourist. But after note ban, most of them are struggling to manage routine expenses.”
Alka Kushwaha, a local artifact vendor at Mandu says, “This is the best time of the year after monsoon season when people prefer coming to Mandu. I see no difference in number of people visiting but this year, they are hesitant in spending on luxury items.”
“Archeological Survey of India has smoothly transitioned to cashless mode of payment by simplifying the process of e-ticketing. But the government cares little for local artisans and businessmen. They are finding it hard to make ends meet,” said Vikram Manwani, business middleman at Chanderi.
Besides the heritage sites, Madhya Pradesh is also known for religious tourism. When a local vendor in Ujjain, Mahesh Tiwari, was asked about the impact of cash ban on his business, he said, “We suffered huge losses in the past month. Now, most of us sell ‘pooja parcels (basket consisting all necessary items for performing pooja in a temple)’ starting from Rs 500. We have also bought swipe machine so that a customer does not return empty-handed”.
Raghu Ram, a bag-seller in Panchmarchi, had to ask to his helper to leave because he was unable to pay him wages. “Kishan was working with me for the past six years and was not ready to leave but I was unable to pay him,” Ram said.