Tragedy-hit U’khand shrines witness all time low in tourism

Since the formation of the state, Uttarakhand has never witnessed such a low number of visitors when it comes to pilgrim tourism. Every year, the inflow of tourists used to range between 20 lakh and 25 lakh including all five pilgrim centers in Uttarakhand state. This year, however, so far the total number of tourists has hardly crossed one lakh. Though the state government has claimed that three lakh tourists have visited Uttarakhand so far during this pilgrim season.

Fear seems to be still haunting the minds of potential tourists who preferred other states for summer outing. Despite tall claims made by the state tourism department to woo tourists from other states, the tourist hotspots wore a deserted look with the exception of Mussorrie, Nainital and Haridwar.
With the summer vacations of school children coming to an end and MET department predicting monsoon arrival on 5 July, it is expected that there will be downfall in tourists’ arrival in the coming months.

Kedarnath-Badrinath temple committee vice-president Madhu Bhatt has admitted that the number of tourists thronging Kedarnath and Badrinath shrine have fallen considerably. This year, pilgrim tourism started on 2 May with the opening of Gangotri and Yamnotri portals, but still the number of tourists has not crossed 50,000 mark. However, last year nearly two lakh tourists visited these two shrines before the natural catastrophe halted the pilgrim tour when it was at its peak in mid-June.
The worst sufferers are seasonal businessmen like hotel and lodge owners, private taxi owners and tourism guides.

However, the good news came in from Mussorrie. The Mall Road was inundated with tourists and eateries did brisk business. All the hotels and lodges were full on Saturday and Sunday, and many tourists returned to Dehradun for night stay. Tourism industry is considered to be the lifeline of this hill state as it contributes 28 per cent revenue to the state government besides generating employment for 10 lakh people directly or indirectly.
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