Press Esc to close
Sunday 26 March 2017
News updated at 2:06 AM IST

Uttarakhand tourism takes a beating

Gautam Dheer Devprayag:oct 6, 2013
Dozens of well-furnished tents pitched on vast stretches of shining white sand between towering mountains on one side and the gently cascading river on the other — these were hotspots for rafting and adventure activities upwards of Rishikesh around this time each year. Now, they wear a near-deserted look.

The odd rafting boat, loosely anchored by the riverside, presents a contrasting picture to previous years, when such picturesque venues would be abuzz with activity and would struggle to accommodate both tourists and boats.

Tourist inflow in flood-ravaged Uttarakhand has severely plunged, especially on the commonly frequented route upwards of Rishikesh towards Badrinath. The state’s tourism-driven economy is gasping for breath.

Nearly four months after the calamity, tourists have started to trickle in, but the insignificant numbers are nowhere close to providing hope of revival to the industry, at least for now. The extent of dependence of natives on tourism and hospitality can be gauged by the fact that at least one person from all households is directly or indirectly employed in a tourism-related activity. A recent study has pegged the state's tourism and hospitality industry's loss at Rs 4,170 crore due to the deluge.

Naresh Sharma, who runs a prominent booking outlet for rafting and other adventure sports in Rishikesh, has now turned a part of his outlet into a cyber caf. Sharma told Deccan Herald that rafting activity has come down 80 per cent as compared to last year. “Tourists are scared to venture this side. Only a few brave hearts are trickling in. Rafting started on September 15, and the response is abysmally poor,” he said.

Travel towards Srinagar, Rudraprayag and beyond, and it's hard to spot an outstation vehicle. Patches of roads are broken along the entire highway, and signboards warning everyone of a potential landslide threat abound. Several roadside eateries along the route have shut down, for it had become increasingly hard to break even, forget turning a profit.

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna has said revival of tourist confidence is paramount, which is why the state government has decided to organise a mega-conference of tour-travel operators from all over to dispel fears. The event is scheduled to take pace after the Navratris, he said. The government hopes that restarting the religious circuit routes, most prominently the Kedarnath Yatra, will restore the lost glory of the hill state.

However, the challenge before the Congress government is more daunting than was simply put by the chief minister. Hotels and other establishments in the flood-hit areas stand completely devastated. Those that stand on the route short of the flood-hit areas don’t have many customers. Employee lay-offs has become increasingly common. There is no place in Kedarnath, other than 30-odd tents, where pilgrims can stay.

Go to Top

Photo Gallery
A delegation of FIFA U-17 Football World Cup at DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai on Saturday...

A delegation of FIFA U-17 Football World Cup at DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai on Saturday...

Artists Kashmir perform at fifth Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav (RSM) organized by North East Zone...

Artists Kashmir perform at fifth Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav (RSM) organized by North East Zone...

President Donald Trump, flanked by Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price...

President Donald Trump, flanked by Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price...

New Mobile Medical Unit vehicle are launched by Karnataka Health and Family Welfare Department...

New Mobile Medical Unit vehicle are launched by Karnataka Health and Family Welfare Department...

Map of India with BJP symbol- Lotus, during the Panch Parmeshwar Sammelan for the MCD elections...

Map of India with BJP symbol- Lotus, during the Panch Parmeshwar Sammelan for the MCD elections...

Bollywood actor Shilpa Shetty during the launch of Saffola breakfast cereal, in Mumbai...

Bollywood actor Shilpa Shetty during the launch of Saffola breakfast cereal, in Mumbai...

A farmer from Tamil Nadu state climbs a tree in a bid to commit suicide, but was later coaxed down..

A farmer from Tamil Nadu state climbs a tree in a bid to commit suicide, but was later coaxed down..

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh pinning stars on the shoulders of a cadet during passing out...

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh pinning stars on the shoulders of a cadet during passing out...

Women with their faces painted to on the eve of 60th Earth Hour in Muradabad on Saturday...

Women with their faces painted to on the eve of 60th Earth Hour in Muradabad on Saturday...

Indian cricketers pose with series trophy before the start of last test match against Australia...

Indian cricketers pose with series trophy before the start of last test match against Australia...

Like us on Facebook

Copyright 2017, The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd., 75, M.G Road, Post Box 5331, Bengaluru - 560001
Tel: +91 (80) 25880000 Fax No. +91 (80) 25880523