Ahead of the high powered committee meeting on Dasara slated to be held in Bengaluru on Friday, stakeholders in the hospitality and tourism sector in Mysuru are keeping their fingers crossed over its outcome.
Even if the government agrees for a ‘meaningful’ Dasara with thrust on tradition, it is likely to be a low-key affair and hence stakeholders in the hospitality sector aver that the bulk of the crowd this year may only be locals drawn from Mysuru and surrounding areas. This, they opine, will not have any bearing on the fortunes of the tourism and hospitality sector which generates at least 80,000 direct jobs.
Narayana Gowda of the Hotel Owners Association said for the sector to thrive outstation tourists are a must as it results in spending which helps revive the economy. Almost 40 per cent of the tourists to Mysuru are from Kerala which is witnessing a surge and hence no tourists can be expected in the immediate future from that State, he added.
The tourism season normally tends to commence around September once the monsoon subsides leading to a peak in October coinciding with Dasara and extending till January. But this year the stakeholders are not optimistic of any revival in their fortunes and will prefer to just sit it out till the bulk of the population gets fully vaccinated over the next few months.
“The tourism sector took a hit from February 2020 and the lockdown became a norm from March 2020 onwards. Though there has been a graded unlocking since then the recovery of the sector is expected to commence only from summer of 2022. We hope to reach the pre-pandemic level of traffic only next year as the bulk of the population would have been vaccinated and the pent up demand for travel will also overwhelm the sector’’, he added.
B.S. Prashanth of Mysore Travel Agents Association said they had plans to bring travel agents from across the country and showcase the city and surrounding areas. “This year accommodation availability will not be an issue as we don’t expect tourists to turn up in large numbers. So the association is keen to bring travel agents so that they promote Mysore in their respective regions. We sought a stakeholders meeting with the district administration but it was simply not interested’’, said Mr. Prashanth.
The general perception is that the COVID-19 is just coming under control in Mysuru with the number of fresh cases hovering around 100 only since the last few days. So the risk of organising a State-sponsored festival extending to 10 days that could lead to another wave, is worrying.
Hence the stakeholders are not positive of any revival in their fortunes as unlike in the past Dasara is not being perceived to be a springboard to promote tourism this year.