Shimla: Disgruntled over no respite from Covid-19 losses, that has shattered their business, the stakeholders of tourism industry seek governments help to bail them out.

They have urged the state government to roll back the restrictions imposed including night curfew from 9.00 pm to 6.00 am.  

Addressing media persons here on Thursday, Shimla Hotilers and Restaurant Association President Sanjay Sood said, “Tourism industry has already faced tough times. Our last straw of hope is on the remaining days of the year end, during Christmas and New Year festivities that can be of some help to us.”

Seeking state government’s assistance in the remaining few days towards year end to mitigate the effects to some extent, Inderjeet Singh President Shimla Beopar Mandal said, that it has been observed that maximum tourist activity takes place on Saturdays and Sundays and by imposing the lockdown on Sundays, the government is only creating hurdles in the economic revival in the state.

“To help tourism prepare for recovery the restrictions of night curfew and keeping the market closed on Sunday’s should be lifted,” he said.

Bahra University

Covid-19 had brought tourism to near standstill, shattering the once booming business, on which lakhs of people in the state are fully dependent, said Sood, emphasizing the need for drawing up the idea to revive tourism sector.  

The extending of night curfew to January 5 has led to cancellation of 50 to 60 percent bookings in hotels as tourist were looking forward for vacation in the hills of Shimla, he said, adding that this is the loss to the state as the tourists has more options to travel to other tourist destinations in the country.

The entire tourism industry cooperated with the government for complete lockdown on 22 March, he said, adding that when the lockdown conditions were lifted and tourist started pouring in they were happy with hope for revival of tourism.

We fail to understand the logic of shutting down of eateries, restaurants  and dhabas on Sunday’s when the tourist especially the weekend tourist bank upon these establishments, said Singh.    

 “We expected relief from the state government, but to no avail. Not even a single penny of relief has been provided so far. Even the subvention scheme seems to exist only on paper as monetary assistance has not been provided to anyone running a restaurant or hotel, said Sood, blaming the government for being insensitive to the concerns of economic activity in tourism sector.

“We strongly urge the Government to relax the night curfew and allow establishments specially eating places like restaurants, cafes, Dhabas, Halwais etc etc to open on Sundays for convenience of tourists and to help revive the tourism sector in these difficult times,” he added.