Cong leader says tourism sector hit in Himachal, seeks bailout package from CentreUpdated: May 22, 2020 00:51 IST
Senior Congress leader Sudhir Sharma on Thursday demanded the Centre and state government should provide a bailout package to the tourism industry which has been adversely hit due to Covid-19 pandemic.
In a statement issued here, Sharma said that the tourism sector is a key contributor to the economy of the state.
“Even as finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman ended her epic saga of relief and reform packages to revive the economy, nothing was announced for tourism and hospitality industry,” he said.
The former urban development minister said that as per estimates, the tourism industry employs 38 million people in the country and in Himachal Pradesh more than 7 lakh people are directly or indirectly dependent on the industry for livelihood.
The tourism sector contributes more than 6.6% to the state GDP, he said adding that travel restrictions after the Covid-19 lockdown have badly hit the industry in the state.
The state government banned the entry of tourists in mid-March which left the industry paralysed.
“There are 3,350 hotels, 1,656 homestays and 2,912 travel agencies in the state which are struggling to stay afloat,” said Sharma adding that not only hoteliers but guides, adventurer sports operators and taxi drivers too have been affected adversely.
He said that the industry has been demanding a financial stimulus for its revival but the Centre and state government have failed to support the industry for its revival.
He said that the state government could at least waive off or cut the electricity and water bills of hotels and restaurants as well as reduce the property tax for the next two years.
He said that the state government recently announced an urban employment guarantee scheme and financial assistance scheme for one lakh registered workers but no relief was granted to the worst-hit sector.