Temple circuit fuelling tourism revival

Post-Dasara, pilgrimages and temple tourism has kept the travel and hospitality sector afloat even as stakeholders are upbeat about the increase in visitors’ footfall in the current season.

There is demand for rented cabs and taxis for private visits to pilgrim centres not only in and around Mysuru but to other places such as Dharmasthala, Subrahmanya, Sringeri, Horanadu, Udupi, Kollur, Melkote, and Srirangapatna.

The long weekend starting Durgasthami celebrated on Thursday followed by Ayudha Puja and Vijaydashami has seen a veritable rush to some of the major temples that were out of bounds for many devotees after the onset of the pandemic.

“There is an increase in enquiries and bookings for cabs and cars on rentals from tourists visiting Mysuru for their onward journey to cover places such as Nanjangud, Melkote, M.M.Hills, Chamarajanagar, and Madikeri besides locals keen to visit temples outside the region as they were pending since at least 2 years now’’, said B.S.Prashanth of Safe Wheels Group.

He said the bookings for both vehicles and hotel accommodation have breached the 60 per cent mark and at this rate, is expected to reach the pre-pandemic levels by December.

The just-concluded Dasara festival saw a surge in the tourist traffic and the stakeholders were dismayed that the government did not allow more visitors to view the Jamboo Savari.

Mr. Prashanth pointed out that though the district administration had stated that not more than 400 people would be allowed to view the Jamboo Savari at the palace, there were thousands to witness the events on Friday. Had they foreseen such a situation and lifted the curbs, perhaps more tourists would have visited Mysuru, he added.

Meanwhile, the number of visitors to the Mysuru palace was high on Saturday a day after the Jamboo Savari, and there are perceptions that these are early signs that the tourism sector is in for a quick revival.

The lighting and illumination was a big draw this year and this has increased the tourist footfall and the stakeholders are thankful to the government for extending the period of illumination till October 24, said Narayana Gowda of Mysore Hotel Owners Association.

The increase in footfall to the palace is underlining the steady inflow of tourists not only from Karnataka but also from other parts of the country, he added. However, the tourist inflow from Kerala has dwindled and this is expected to be a temporary lull due to the pandemic and is bound to improve in the months ahead, according to Mr. Prashanth.

Tourism and hospitality sector in Mysuru generates 80,000 to 100,000 jobs and not less than 3.5 million tourists used to visit the city every year on a conservative estimate. The sector collapsed after the onset of the pandemic and there is a perception that if there was no surge in the COVID-19 cases in the next few days post-Dasara, then the fear of the third wave will also subside and the sector could witness a further revival.

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2021 8:40:12 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/temple-circuit-fuelling-tourism-revival/article37024976.ece

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