A series of holidays owing to festivals preceded by the weekend has triggered a tourist rush to Mysuru for the second time in a fortnight giving a fillip to the sector.
The weekend, coupled with State Government holidays on Monday and Tuesday owing to Ramzan and Basava Jayanti has given holiday-makers a 4-day breather and is reflected in the surge in visitors’ footfall to the city.
From April 30 to May 2, all the hotels in the heart of Mysuru have declared a 100% occupancy rate while facilities beyond the Outer Ring Road are reporting 80% occupancy rates and inquiries continue to pour in.
A similar trend prevailed between April 13 and 16 when almost all hotels in Mysuru and surrounding regions had a 100% occupancy rate, said C. Narayana Gowda, president of Hotel Owners’ Association.
The pent-up demand for travel which had come to a halt due to the pandemic since March 2020, is one of the factors fueling the drive and this is also evident in the footfall at the Mysuru palace. Nearly two lakh tourists visited the palace in April 2022 which augurs well for the travel and tourism sector. Though the numbers used to be around 3 lakh and 3.5 lakh for April in the pre-pandemic times, last month’s numbers are impressive as the tourism sector had completely collapsed owing to the pandemic and hotels were closed and thousands of jobs were lost. Hence, the current buoyancy being witnessed in the tourism sector augurs well for the city’s economy.
There are 10,000 rooms in Mysuru catering to all kind of tourists ranging from those in the budget category to those clubbed under high-end luxury segment. The sector generates nearly 75,000 to 100,000 jobs and is a major economic driver for Mysuru.
But there are concerns over the possibility of a fourth wave peaking in June. But the stakeholders in the hospitality and travel sector are confident that given the mass vaccination drive coupled with a majority of the people having contracted COVID-19, the chances of travel taking a hit in the event of a fourth wave, are less.
“May be masks will be made compulsory to ensure that people are safe but it is unlikely that there will be a situation that led to the lockdown during the first and the second wave,” said Mr. Gowda.
The tourist guides whose fortunes hinge directly on travelers were among the worst affected and many had abandoned the profession and worked as daily wagers in construction or the farm sector. But things are beginning to look up in recent times.
Mr. Devaraj, a licensed guide at the historic Kesava temple at Somanathpur said the temple receives around 500 to 600 tourists during weekends and this is an encouraging trend. ‘’A few international tourists too have been visiting in the last few weeks and we hope see pre-pandemic levels of tourism activity during the current year,’’ he added.
Similarly, the footfall at the Mysuru Rail Museum has increased and it has over 1,000 visitors during the weekend.