Madurai

Lockdown hits tourism industry

Closure of tourist spots such as Gandhi Museum in Madurai, has affected the stakeholders of the tourism industry.   | Photo Credit: ASHOK R

Madurai

The closure of tourists spots due to the imposition of complete lockdown in the wake of the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic has deeply affected various stakeholders of the tourism industry. The stakeholders have urged the government to provide relief measures until the tourist spots reopen.

Different stakeholders - auto rickshaw drivers, bus operators, travel agents, hoteliers, tour guides and vendors around tourist spots - have been severely affected due to COVID-19 pandemic.

S. Kaniraj, a tourist guide for the past 25 years, says that many tourist guides have been struggling to run their families without any income for the past few months. “Facing such a scenario for the second consecutive year has been very hard for tour guides. Many of them are unable to pay their dues and have borrowed heavily to meet their basic needs,” he added.

M. Rajesh, Secretary of South Tamil Nadu Association of Travel and Tourism, says that 60% of tourist inflow to Madurai is through flight and trains.

Tourist inflow is highest in Madurai during March, April and May, which accounts for the major share of income earned by the stakeholders of the tourism industry.

However, the imposition of lockdown during this peak period for two consecutive years has deeply affected the stakeholders.

Despite this scenario, most stakeholders have paid their electricity bills and also salary for their employees, said Mr. Rajesh.

“There is an urgent need to announce relief measures to the stakeholders of the tourism industry to help them overcome their losses,” he said.

Mr. Rajesh also urged the government to exempt the stakeholders from GST taxes, and give priority to the tourism industry members for COVID-19 vaccination.


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Printable version | Jul 31, 2021 8:43:25 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/lockdown-hits-tourism-industry/article34782562.ece

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