Andhra Pradesh

Tourism sector in Chittoor finds hope of revival bleak

Prior to the COVID-induced lockdown, Chittoor district remained the hot destination for thousands of tourists thanks to the cozy retreats such as Horsley Hills, Talakona waterfalls, Chandragiri Fort, and half a dozen premier pilgrimage sites including Tirumala.

But the tourism sector in the district has taken a hit after the coronavirus cases increased manifold. The rush of pilgrims, who form the bulk of tourist population in the district, came down to a trickle. Even as ‘unlocking’ had commenced a couple of months ago, the chances of the tourism sector getting revived look bleak.

Though the State government has called for resumption of tourism operations from August 1 onward, and the boating facilities from August 15 onward, the plan of action hardly matches with the reality in Chittoor.

For one, the coronavirus cases have crossed 17,576 in the district so far, as a consequence of which the borders with Tamil Nadu and Karnataka are under strict surveillance, restricting public and vehicular movement.

Tourism Manager D.V. Chandramouli Reddy told The Hindu that the occupancy rate at Horsley Hills, the standalone hillstation in the State and a major crowd-puller, has come down below 20% at weekends, as against the housefull status of the pre-COVID period.

“The statistics of tourism in Chittoor is generally linked to the pilgrim rush to Tirumala. Though the online slots are provided to about 10,000 pilgrims a day, half of them are said to be dropping out voluntarily, in spite of getting the tickets. The fear of COVID is felt by tourism sector here. It is expected that its sway might continue for the next one year. But, we are all geared up to serve and guide tourists as usual,” the official said.

Boating at Rayala Cheruvu

When asked about the possibility of resuming the boating facilities at the historical Rayala Cheruvu, near Tirupati, from August 15, Mr Chandramouli said that the contractor had discontinued the services even before the lockdown began. “We are going to find the right alternative at the earliest after consulting with the State authorities,” he said.

The tourism wing that operated Haritha restaurants are also facing difficulties in the district. Except for the unit near Srikalahasti, the other restaurants at Puttur, Palamaner and Kuppam had gone defunct early this year.

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Printable version | Oct 1, 2020 6:13:41 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/tourism-sector-in-chittoor-finds-hope-of-revival-bleak/article32320767.ece

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