Closure of tourist spots affects stakeholders

Tirumalai Naicker Palace remains closed for visitors due to COVID-19 spread in Madurai on Tuesday.   | Photo Credit: R. Ashok

Acting on the State government's orders, popular tourists destinations in Madurai district have closed their gates to visitors in the wake of rising COVID-19 positive cases. This has impacted the livelihoods of various stakeholders of the tourism industry.

Major tourist destinations like Thirumalai Nayak Palace, Gandhi Memorial Museum, Government Museum, World Tamil Sangam and other spots with historical significance have been closed. Devotees are allowed to enter Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple only at fixed timings and through two gates.

The closure of the major tourist destinations has directly impacted the tour guides whose sole income depends on the inflow of tourists.

S. Kaniraj, a tourist guide for the past 25 years, said that there had been a significant drop in the inflow of tourists from other districts and States since April 1.

"With no income last year due to COVID-19 lockdown, we started to earn income slowly from January. But, the imposition of new restrictions now will mean that we will have no income for the next few months," he said.

He complained that the government did not provide any help to the tour guides last year.

Suthagar Selvaraj, Founder of Madurai Eco Tourism- a tour booking operator, said that various stakeholders like taxi operators, autorickshaw drivers, shopkeepers, tour guides, restaurants and hotels are affected because of the new restrictions imposed by the government.

"The government must hold talks with the stakeholders to identify ways to provide relief to the stakeholders," he added.

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Printable version | May 19, 2021 5:19:24 AM |

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