Himachal Pradesh Hotel Owners’ Dilemma In Covid Pandemic: To Reopen Or Not

Himachal Pradesh Hotel Owners’ Dilemma In Covid Pandemic: To Reopen Or Not

The four months of Coronavirus-induced lockdown in Himachal Pradesh have hit the state's tourism sector hard. Now with the businesses and other activities gradually reopening across the country, the state government is attempting to revive the tourism sector. However, the hoteliers are in a dilemma -- torn between the fear of Coronavirus spread and uncertain about the footfall of the tourists in the hilly state in the times of pandemic. Though few hoteliers at Shimla, Dharamshala and Manali have resumed their limited operations, a majority of them are not taking the risks. Another factor that stops the hoteliers from resuming their business is the resistance by locals against allowing tourists from other states. “As of now, we have decided to wait till mid-September or till a vaccine is launched. The situation is still volatile. No one is willing to take a risk of venturing out at a time when Covid-19 cases are rising each day," says Sanjay Sood, President Shimla Hotels and Restaurants Association. Apart from the hoteliers' reluctance, the fear of travel, restrictions on travel and free movements and other government guidelines hold back the tourists, thus depleting the chances of tourism industry's revival in the state. According to a government guideline, the tourists are required to pre-book the hotel for a period of at least five days -- another factor in negligible footfall of tourists in the state. “We want the state government to lift guideline of five-day booking for tourists. It should be reduced to two or three days. Lot of people ...
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