Corona worries Manali Businessmen

Manali: Tourism world over has been hit hard by coronavirus spread and has impacted the sentiment at this famous tourism destination too. Hotel owners and businessmen, here in Manali and the Kullu valley are a worried lot just before the tourist season begins in April.

Since last week of February, there has been a decline in the number of tourists. Within two weeks, the occupancy of hotels has come down from 40 to 25 percent. Due to the fear of Corona, the number of tourists in the hotels of the Tourism Corporation and other private hotels has started to decline in the valley. Satish Kachroo, General manager of Hotel Coral Resort and spa, Manali, said that the resort was empty, first due to violence in Delhi and now the corona virus has overshadowed tourism in Manali.

With the onset of spring in March, tourism picks up in the valley as the snowmelt increases, trees take on a fresh leaf cover leaves and wild flowers bloom after a long winter. The rejuvenating air, blossoming apple orchards and swarms of multi-coloured butterflies flying around makes for an unforgettable experience.

The district administration has tried to ward of a panic with the resident magistrate saying that there was need for caution about coronavirus, but there need not be a panic as there has been no positive case detected in Kullu valley.

Coronavirus (Photo: pixabay.com)

She said that extensive arrangements are being made in the district as a precautionary measure due to tourism activities. Especially China, Hong Kong, Japan, other countries of Southeast Asia adjoining it, Nepal, Iran and Italy tourists or local people who have visited these countries need to keep a special watch. In this regard, she directed the health department to undertake checkup of the tourists entering the district. The Deputy Commissioner said that it would be compulsory for foreign tourists to fill a form in hotels, guest houses and home stay units of the district.

The Deputy Commissioner said that a person infected with corona suddenly develops high fever, cough and has difficulty in breathing. There is no need to panic when there is a common cold. Toll free number 104 has been made public to address the doubts related to Corona. If any person experiences corona-like symptoms, inform them on number 104 and get that person checked at the nearest health center immediately. The Deputy Commissioner said that special arrangements have been made to deal with the corona at the regional hospital Kullu. A 10-bed isolation ward has been built here.

The Deputy Commissioner instructed the taxi and bus operators and hoteliers to warn the tourists against Corona and make sure to fill the surveillance forms of foreign tourists. Train hotel staff and drivers as well. Report a suspicious case immediately to number 104.

Dr. Richa Verma said that some precautions need to be taken in the common routine to prevent infection. As a precaution, avoid crowded places and wash hands thoroughly. If a person is suffering from a cold, person should keep a handkerchief over his mouth while coughing or sneezing and keep a proper distance from the other person while talking. She said that advisory about Corona virus is being issued from time to time. She instructed to use masks at crowded places.

Sanjay Dutta, an engineer by qualification but is a journalist by choice. He has worked for the premier new agency Press Trust of India and leading English daily Indian Express. With more than a decade of experience, he has been highlighting issues related to environment, tourism and other aspects affecting mountain ecology. Sanjay Dutta lives in a village close to Manali in Kullu valley of Himachal.

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