Local travel propels tourism sector recovery

Travel and tourism sector, which was down in the dumps for the greater part of the year due to the pandemic, is breathing a sigh of relief as the footfall of the year-end tourists has increased in Mysuru and surrounding regions.

Hotels are reporting a good number of inquiries that are converting into accommodation bookings helping the hospitality sector register a slight recovery.

Narayana Gowda, president of the Hotel Owners’ Association, said almost 60% of the rooms in the city are booked by tourists and this uptick in the arrival is being witnessed since December 24.

There was a visible trend from December with a slight increase in tourism footfall and the stakeholders had expressed confidence that the occupancy rates in hotels could peak at around 60% by the end of the month.

Notwithstanding the concern over the second wave of the pandemic due to the new strain of the virus, people are travelling and this is evident in the daily arrivals. Bulk of the tourists are walk-in clients though there are tourists who make bookings online on the portals of the hotels, said Mr. Gowda.

The hotels have increased their recruitment to cope with the rush and the current occupancy rates match that of February 2020 after which the travel and tourism industry came to a grinding halt, he said. However, restaurants have cut down on the menu and some of the north Indian cuisines as the cooks from those regions are yet to return or have quit the job.

Statistics from the Palace Board indicate that for the first time after the unlocking the monthly footfall to the Mysuru palace is likely to cross the 1 lakh mark. About 91,000 tourists visited the palace as on December 27, which is the highest for any month after the unlocking.

Prashanth of Safe Wheels said as far as the tourist taxi and vehicle service providers are concerned, the demand is for Kodagu, Wayanad and Ooty.

“We are getting not only local Mysuru-based residents opting to go out but have clients from other parts of the State as well which indicates their preference to resorts and mountains at this juncture,” he said.

That resorts and hill stations are preferred choice of destinations is evident in the surge in tourists footfalls in the neighbouring district of Kodagu. “It is as if the pandemic has been erased from the memory as a bad dream and people seem to be travelling with a vengeance,” said Jeevan, a resident of Virajpet.

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