Uttarakhand hoteliers keep fingers crossed as business returns slowly
Hoteliers in Uttarakhand have claimed that there is a gradual improvement in the tourism sector after the government eased Covid-19 restrictions on tourism activities last week.
They said the influx of tourists in the state’s popular spots like Mussoorie and Nainital has started.
Hotels in the state which were closed down for about 5-6 months due to the Covid-19 pandemic have been receiving queries for booking for the next few days especially in the first week of October.
“Post relaxations we have seen some improvement in the business which was hard hit by the pandemic. In the last few days, about 10-15% business is back with some tourists visiting Nainital and Mussoorie on Saturday,” said Sandeep Sahni, president, hotel and restaurant association of Uttarakhand.
He, however, said that the industry will take several months to get fully back on track.
“Our industry is a perishable industry and the losses incurred can never be recovered. During the lockdown, we lost our business during the prime season which is during the summers. We lost about ₹2,000 cr during that in the state. We are expecting about 30-40% of the business by the end of October but for 100% it will take months,” said Sahni.
Sanjay Agarwal, general secretary of Mussoorie Hotel Association said, ‘post restrictions, the hotels have got about 70% of the total bookings for the first week of October which has got a long weekend.’
“Tourists are slowly coming after the restrictions on movement were lifted. We are getting maximum bookings and queries from Delhi-NCR region which are closer to Mussoorie,” said Agarwal.
He also said that hoteliers have no option but to be patient to recover their losses. “It will however take a considerable time to fully recover. But we have no option but to wait,” he said.
Ved Sah, general secretary of the Nainital hotel association too claimed that the hotels in the popular tourist spot are getting bookings for the next few weeks.
“As the restrictions have been eased, the tourists have started coming. We are getting bookings from tourists for the first week of October which is a good sign for business,” he said.
However, president of the Uttarakhand hotel and restaurant association, Sahni claimed that the industry will collapse if the government doesn’t provide assistance.
“The medium and small hotels in our industry have been majorly affected. They don’t have money to sustain and have suffered job losses. The whole industry is on the verge of collapse if there is no timely government assistance,” said Shani.
The state government, however, seemed optimistic that the tourism sector which is a major source of revenue generation, will recover.
Chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat on Sunday said, “The government is taking many steps to boost the tourism in the state. We have been undertaking projects to ensure tourism activities round the year including water sports, adventure sports, circuits for religious tourism and others.”
“The pandemic has surely affected the industry, but it will surely gather pace after once the pandemic ends,” said Rawat.