Tamil Nadu

Resort owners, cab operators in the Nilgiris stare at bleak future

Many shops resumed business in Udhagamandalam on Friday. Photo : M . Sathyamoorthy

Many shops resumed business in Udhagamandalam on Friday. Photo : M . Sathyamoorthy  

Without tourism, many businesses will have to shut down, they fear

Though Udhagamandalam town has returned to some semblance of normalcy after the lockdown measures were eased, those dependant on the tourism industry said that future for many remained bleak due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Small-time entrepreneurs, including those in the hospitality business in the town, said that business had improved over the last few days as more people started venturing out of their houses, but they added that unless the district was once again opened up to tourism, many businesses would have to shut down in the coming months.

“The Nilgiris depends on tourism to provide livelihood for lakhs of people. We have already lost two summer months, which are the most profitable months of each year. Unless the situation improves, and tourists start visiting again, many cottages will have to close down permanently,” said Ram Gopalan, a resort owner from the Nilgiris.

Taxi drivers too said they could not make money owing to the cancellation of the summer flower festival this year. “Many drivers are now thinking of selling their cars just to make ends meet and find alternative employment. It really is a very challenging time for many taxi owners,” said R. Kumar, a taxi driver from Khandal in Udhagamandalam.

V.A.Mohammed Jaffer, district president of the Nilgiris district small eateries owners’ association, said that there were more than 800 small restaurants, bakeries and eateries in the district. “Even if these businesses are allowed to open, many may not be able to function due to certain conditions the government may impose on each establishment in the wake of the pandemic, such as a mandatory amount of floor space available for each shop to be allowed to operate. We could lose hundreds of shops due to such restrictions,” he said and added that the livelihood of thousands of people was linked to small eateries in the Nilgiris.

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Printable version | Jun 6, 2020 7:35:07 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/resort-owners-cab-operators-in-the-nilgiris-stare-at-bleak-future/article31650378.ece

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