Pandemic Hit Tourism Forces Hotel Federation To Seek Government Relief

Dharamshala: The unprecedented lockdowns having hit travel and tourism hard, forceing the states large hospitality sector seek government intervention by urging the chief minister to provide immediate support for the industry.

Night view of Dharamshala and the Kangra valley

The Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Association, a state level organization, has written to the chief minister asking relief by being levied domestic electricity rate charges instead of commercial rates, domestic property tax rates instead of the commercial one, domestic water rates for water usage and waiving off all license and renewal fees to support the tourism sector which has been badly hit by Covid-19 pandemic.

Budhi Parkash Thakur, convener FOHRA said, “we have strived hard in trying to make Himachal Pradesh as best and most attractive tourist destination in the country, but it is needless to mention that tourism industry is passing through the very bad phase and is experiencing one of the worst periods.

He recalled that in 2017, tourism in the state faced the brunt of National Green Tribunal directives and many tourist units were locked down, in 2018, publicity about water shortages hit tourist arrivals and 2019, the summer Lok Sabha elections heavily impacted the tourism sector of the state.

Dominated by the mighty Dhauladhar Range, Dharamshala and Kangra valley is fast becoming an attractive tourist destination (Photo: Arvind Sharma)

We were looking at 2020 as a recovery year,” said Thakur, “but Covid-19 has dashed all hopes and we do not see any possibility to bounce back and start our business operations before the onset of the next season, next year.”

Sanjeev Gandhi, co-convener said, “given that state of tourism, we have asked the chief minister to intervene and provide relief and support.”

In the representation, the organization has pointed out that with there being no business at hand but the fixed overheads, salary payment, maintenance costs and repayment of loan instalments have to be borne, month after month. “Surviving through the lockdown has become very difficult and we are having to dip into emergency funds to see this through,” said Gandhi.

Arvind Sharma is an award winning bi-lingual journalist with more than 20 years of experience. He has worked with Divya Himachal, Dainik Jagran, Dainik Bhasker, Vir Partap, Ajit and PTI. In 2010, he was conferred the Himachal Kesri journalism award. He reports on the Tibetan Government in Exile, politics, sports, tourism and other topics. He lives in Dharamshala.

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