Many tourist places in Uttarakhand yet to achieve pre-2013 flash floods footfall
While the number of tourists visiting Uttarakhand has increased every year after the 2013 flash floods, many tourist destinations of the state are still not receiving the footfall they did before the natural disaster struck.
After the 2013 tragedy, there was a dip in the number of tourists visiting the state. As per the tourism department’s data, 2.85 crore people visited Uttarakhand in 2012. The number fell down to 2.11 crore in 2013.
While the number of visitors in the state increased in the following years, many tourist destinations like Joshimath are yet to achieve the pre-disaster figures. In 2012, 14.46 lakh tourists visited Joshimath. The number drastically dipped to 4.19 lakh in 2013 and even further down to 1.73 lakh in 2014. Similarly, 2.37 lakh tourists visited Chamoli in 2017, which was a little over 16% of the footfall witnessed in 2012. Uttarkashi, Srinagar and Pauri have also registered a significant dip in the number of tourists.
In 2012, 6.45 lakh people visited Uttarkashi. The numbers stood at 3.37 lakh in 2017. Srinagar recorded a footfall of 3.29 lakh people in 2012, while less than 2 lakh people visited the city last year. Similarly, around 75,000 tourists visited Pauri last year against 1.07 lakh in 2012.
The number of tourists has also dropped in Rishikesh, which is visited by religious tourists as well as adventure-sports enthusiasts. While over 8 lakh people visited the city in 2012, last year’s count stood at 6.78 lakh.
Rudraprayag (barring Kedarnath) was visited by 6.38 lakh tourists in 2012. Last year, the town registered a footfall of 4.85 lakh. Almost 5 lakh tourists had visited Hemkund Sahib, one of the important religious places in the state, in 2012. In 2017, the total number of people visiting the town stood at 1.29 lakh.
Commenting over the drop in number of tourists at the tourism destinations, Jyoti Neeraj Khairwal, additional chief executive officer of Uttarakhand Tourism Development Board (UTDB), said, “Our focus is not on any particular district or a particular tourist destination of the state. We are looking to develop tourism in the state as a whole and increase the overall footfall every year.”
Khairwal added, “The overall number of tourists has increased in the state. As we are developing new destinations in the state, people are going there as well. So, the numbers is as such not a concern. Our concern is to spread them to new destinations. We want to showcase our new destination as the state’s tourism potential is not limited.”
A total of 3.47 crore tourists came to the state last year. Officials of the tourism department said over 23 lakh devotees visited the Char Dham this year, which is more than the number recorded in 2012.