Tourism sector hit by CAA protests

The Hindu

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20% drop in tourist inflow into Mysuru compared to the same period last year

The tourism sector in Mysuru is feeling the heat of the current protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) across the country.

In December, the peak tourism season for when the hospitality sector records cent per cent occupancy rates, the protests have hit tourist footfall in the city.

Mysuru is among the most popular destinations for the tourist crowd during the Christmas vacations that extend till New Year. This has been a trend since the last decade and the district administration and the Tourism Department have taken measures to boost the footfall during the year-end.

Though palace board officials say that the impact is not significant and the variation in tourist flow is marginal, hotels in the city aver that there is a 20% drop in tourist inflow compared to the same period last year.

Narayan Gowda of the Hotel Owners’ Association said the fall is significant as the peak year-end tourism season commences from the second week of December and lasts till the first week of January when there used to be 100% occupancy.

“Almost all hotels in the city used to register cent per cent occupancy rates during this period if one goes by the trends of the last few years. But there has been 20% drop so far and the occupancy rates hover around 80% in most hotels. If the protests continue the footfall is bound to decline further,” said Mr. Gowda, hinting that stakeholders will brace for a further decline in tourists arrival if the protests continue.

In December 2018, more than 4.8 lakh tourists visited Mysuru if the sale of the entry tickets to the Mysuru palace is any indication. As on December 19, about 2.26 lakh tourists have visited the palace and it remains to be seen if the shortfall can be bridged in the next few days.

Though the arrival of international tourists to Mysuru has always been low, it may have further dwindled owing to the international coverage of the CAA protests and the advisory issued by various countries to their nationals visiting India. But stakeholders in Mysuru say the tourism sector in the region is fuelled by domestic travellers who constitute more than 95% of their clientele.

Mysuru receives nearly 3.5 million tourists and the local economy relies largely on the tourism sector. It is estimated that the sector generates direct and indirect employment to nearly 80,000 people in the region.

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