Safety concerns, recession hit Dasara

Tourists missing

Safety concerns, recession hit Dasara

 
If the signs were anything to go by, the number of tourists visiting Dasara as the festivities opened, had come down considerably in the last 2-3 years.

“When we saw the enquiries coming down immediately after the terrorist attack on Mumbai, we hoped it would be better next year around. Subsequent year was about recession hitting us hard. That was worst since even our weekend travellers stayed away. Just as we were hoping things would look up this year, it doesn’t seem so,” said S Rajendra, President of Hotel Owners’ Association in Mysore.

According to him, ‘negative publicity’ by western media and even Indian media about ‘India not being safe’ for visitors, may have cost Dasara its share of tourists.

While small and medium hotel owners wait for Dasara enquiries and walk-in customers ahead of the festivities to boost their business, bigger hotels used to bank on high end customers, usually foreigners, to add to their income. It was this time of the year when tongawallahs decked up their carriages, fed their horses well and sat dressed in best of the attire, creating nostalgic moments for visitors and locals alike; ferrying them around Amba Palace.

Apart from the Palace, the Zoo, Chamundi Hills, Brindavan Gardens, and other places outside Mysore such as Somnathpur, Himavadgopalaswamy Betta, Balamuri etc used to have roaring business catering to thousands of visitors every day. It is not only the case with visitors, but also with the locals too. Though the city is all lit up, it lacks the ‘spirit’.

“With prices of essential commodities skyrocketing, we can only have a token celebration,” said Chandrakala Mahadev, a bank employee. 

A tour operator on condition of anonymity said the government was to be blamed for the mess. “The officials have reduced Dasara to a mere puppet show where only ministers and officers participate. They have milked this ‘Dasara’ cow to its last drop and have fed it with nothing to boost its image. People today can buy more and want better stuff. How long will one buy the ‘heritage’ tag when travelling to some place with historic significance such as Egypt or Peru is much less complicated?

Over many years, tourists are not given information before hand even though technology can help a lot.

Dasara website lacks details even a week ahead of the festival, how do you expect people to plan their travel? he questions.

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