Tourism in Assam is feared to witness 80-90% job loss

Tourism in Assam is feared to witness 80-90% job loss

Representative image (iStock)

First the curfew and violence during the anti-CAA protests in December. And now the coronavirus pandemic. Tourism in Assam has been battered so much this season (October to April) that those depending on it now fear 80% to 90% job loss and threat to survival without urgent financial assistance from the government.

"Most of the tourism businesses in Assam are run by first generation entrepreneurs/start-ups with very small financial base. Many will find it extremely difficult to meet the challenges beyond a certain point of time. Total estimated loss till date will run to hundreds of crores and prospect of job loss in this sector is very real. This will lead to loss of livelihood options for lakhs of people dependent on the related activities like handlooms and handicrafts, art and culture, wildlife, beside others," said a memorandum submitted to Assam government by three major tour operators' organisations. 

The meorandum was signed by Tour Operators Association of Assam, Association of Domestic Tour Operators of India, Northeast chapter and Indian Association of Tour Operators, Northeast chapter. It has been submitted to Assam government's advisory committee for revitalisation of the state economy, headed by retired IAS officer, Subhas Chandra Das, recently. The committee submitted its report to Cheif Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Tuesday. 

The associations sought long term loans to the tour operators without collateral security, moratorium on loan EMIs till March 2021 and deferment of collection of fees by the government agencies by another one year.

"These measures are necessary as most tour operators will need to restructure/ rebuild their businesses. All this will take a long time to bear fruit and hence, we request for a long term ‘soft’ loan. Tourism sector needs a special handholding in terms of financial aid as tourism is seasonal in the region," said the associations.

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