Jaisalmer locals sign deal to keep flights to city operational to save tourism
According to the agreement signed between SpiceJet and Jaisalmer development committee, the operational cost of flights will be calculated for 15 days.
In a unique initiative to salvage tourism, the local businessmen in Jaisalmer have inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with SpiceJet to ensure the air carrier continues commercial flights to the golden city unhindered between February 12 and March 13 this year, according to officials.
The MoU states that if the air service company has to operate flights to Jaisalmer at a loss in the stated period, then the locals involved in the tourism business will bear it. The airline will also give an account of the seats booked every 15 days, as per the MoU signed on Thursday in the presence of Jaisalmer district collector Ashish Modi.
The locals involved in tourism business in Jaisalmer decided to salvage their businesses after SpiceJet stopped its flight to the city from January 28, citing high cost and low passenger load. Realising that discontinuation of the flight service could severely impact their businesses at the end of the winter months, considered the most lucrative period for tourism in the region, the local businessmen engaged the airline management for a win-win formula.
“A dozen of businessmen involved in the hospitality and tourism sector have signed the MoU with Spice Jet in the presence of the district administration. This is a very good initiative to save the tourism industry of Jaisalmer. From February 12, the air service will run smoothly. I congratulate the people of the district in this regard. This agreement has been made possible with public participation, which will determine the future of Jaisalmer,” said Ashish Modi, district collector, Jaisalmer.
Modi added that according to the agreement signed between SpiceJet and Jaisalmer development committee, the operational cost of flights will be calculated for 15 days.
“If the airline incurs loss then it will be borne by the local businessmen. For this, a guarantee fund of ₹84 lakh has been created too. Calculation of loss and profit will be done every 15 days,” said Modi.
According to the understanding, flights to Delhi and Ahmedabad will be operated thrice a week from Jaisalmer. Jaisalmer-Delhi flights will operate on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and Jaisalmer-Ahmedabad flights will be operated on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. SpiceJet has reported an expenditure of ₹6 lakh for each round to Delhi and ₹1 lakh for the flight to Ahmedabad.
Around 90,000 Indian tourists and 25,000 foreign tourists visited Jaisalmer in 2020. In 2019, the tourist footfall was 3.5 lakh, as per the official data from the tourism department.
“Covid pandemic was the reason behind the decline in tourism in 2020. However, the number of tourists has increased gradually since November last year,” said a district official.