The tourist traffic in Uttar Pradesh has taken a severe blow following the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic. Since this is the season when domestic tourism peaks due to holidays in schools and moderate weather conditions, the blow to tourism industry has been all the more severe.
Agra, which is one of the biggest tourist destinations in the state, has recorded a more then 50 per cent drop in tourist traffic.
According to reports, there was a drastic drop in sale of tickets to the Taj Mahal on Sunday. According to data provided by the Archaeological Survey of India, the number of foreign tourists fell down to a mere 1,274 on Sunday. On any normal day, there are more than 20,000 to 25,000 visitors at the Taj Mahal.
Agra, which has reported the maximum number of eight Corona patients in the past two weeks, is one of the worst-hit cities in Uttar Pradesh.
In Varanasi, the tourist traffic has also slowed down considerably. Devotees at the Kashi Vishwanath temple are being asked to wash their hands, wear masks and use sanitizers before they enter the temple. Most of the deities at the temples have also being given masks.
Rajiv Krishna, a heritage hotel manager, said, “We have seen the maximum cancellation of bookings in the past five days after the travel restrictions were imposed. This is going to be the worst tourist season ever. Even the domestic tourists – most who come from south India – are cancelling their bookings.”
Mathura, which normally witnesses maximum tourist traffic in March when Holi celebrations take place, has reported a ‘damp season’.
“The number of foreign tourists has fallen drastically. Even those who came to see the Holi celebrations, left abruptly. Most of the hotels, motels and even dharamshalas are recording very low occupancy,” said Divyansh Chaturvedi, a local businessman.
Travel and tour operators say that they will not be able to recover losses even after the Corona scare is over.
“In UP, tourism slows down as soon as temperatures begin to rise in April. Then we have monsoon and after that tourists go to West Bengal for Durga Puja. We can hope for revival only after that,” said Vivek Srivastava, a local tour operator.