Dharamshala: Tourism, hit the hardest by global Coivd-19 pandemic, having been left out of the stimulus package announced by the Modi government had secretary All India Congress Committee (AICC) Sudhir Sharma here say, “Himachal has been left high and dry for the hill states economy is heavily dependent on tourism and the hospitality sector.”
He said, “Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman ended her long saga of relief and reform package to revive economy, but travel, tourism and hospitality sector was totally ignored. It is estimated that over seven lakh people in Himachal directly or indirectly depend on tourism and tourism contributes more than 6.6 per cent to the state GDP.” T
He demanded that the state and central governments should provide a bailout package to the tourism industry for its revival to benefit each and every person associated with this industry.
Speaking to Hill Post Sharma said the Himachal government in mid-March banned the entry of tourists into the state, choking the associated. There are 3,350 hotels, 1,656 home stays and 2,912 travel agencies registered with the tourism department. They are all struggling to stay afloat. Not just hotel operators but guides, adventurers and taxi drivers too have been affected severely.
“Adventure sport disciplines of paragliding, rafting, trekking and other related activities are totally paralysed and people related to them are in shock,” said Sharma.
Government data shows that in 2019 there were 3.82 lakh foreign travellers and 1,68,29,231 domestic tourists, which is more than twice the population of Himachal.
Demanding immediate revival relief for this revenue generating industry, Sharma, who is a former minister said, “on the one hand the government speaks about creating employment and on the other hand, they are absolutely senseless to a sector which directly employs around 38 million people.