Footfall at Hampi dips; entry ticket rate hike is not the reason, says ASI

Footfall at Hampi dips; entry ticket  rate hike is not the reason, says ASI

The number of visitors to the tourism hub of Hampi has seen a year-on-year dip with 5.35 lakh tourists in 2016-17 against 6.73 lakh in 2015-16. The numbers include 40,188 foreigners in 2015-16 and 38,182 in 2016-17. 

Many see the reduction as a consequence of the hike in fares from Rs 10 to Rs 30 for local tourists and Rs 250 to Rs 500 for overseas visitors, with effect from April 1 by the Archaeological Survey of India.

Tourists can go to the museum, Vijaya Vittala temple and Lotus Mahal on a single ticket. But the hike in ticket fares has meant that visitors are only going to those monuments where the entry is free, says Gopal, who is working as a tourist guide in Hampi for the last 15 years.

Many times people come in hordes of 80 to 100 in lorries or tractors from different parts of the state. It is often not possible for them to pay the fares in bulk. They go to hillocks nearby from where they get a panoramic view of the heritage structures or take a look at them from a distance. Among the foreign visitors, not all are financially sound. Those from African countries are usually from poorer backgrounds and cannot afford to pay the fares. Hence, some of them skip Hampi while visiting India.

Lack of basic amenities like clean drinking water, toilets and changing rooms for women on river beds also dog the place.

An official with the ASI said increase in ticket fares was not the only reason for the fall in footfall. Fares have been increased at all monuments maintained by the ASI, the official said.

The official also said steps have been taken to attract more tourists, like opening the monuments for visitors at 6 am, instead of 8 am. He expressed hope that the measure would attract more visitors in future.
DH News Service

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