The Gandhi Jayanti weekend was an optimism booster for the tourism industry, sections of which saw positive sentiment among travellers rising. And now, they are pinning their hopes on the upcoming big festive days during Dasara and Deepavali for further relief to a sector that has been battered by the pandemic.
The sector has already been seeing signs of revival. “Weekend travelling as well as occupancy level in KSTDC have improved since September 15 across the State, but most prominently for Madikeri, Nandi Hills, Jog falls, Srirangapatna, Almatti and Badami,” said Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation (KSTDC) Managing Director Kumar Pushkar.
“With regard to Dasara, we do not anticipate any surge, as the authorities have decided to keep celebrations low-key to ensure that the festival does not become the reason for spread of the pandemic. Yet, during Dasara holidays, local people will definitely travel, leading to some impetus to the tourism sector,” he said.
Sandeep Keshav Thamankar, proprietor of a tour company, said homestays in Kodagu, Chikkamagaluru and Sakleshpur were fully booked during October 1 to 4. “Travellers don’t want to take cabs. They are contacting homestays directly. Hotels are not doing as well. In fact, there are no enquiries for north India due to the fear factor. Nobody is going through tour operators, unless they need a vehicle and accommodation,” he said.
He added that Dasara may not attract too many tourists this time, as there have been few enquiries due to the low-key celebrations.
Arun Ramachandran, owner of a homestay in Chikkamagaluru, said business has been picking up “very well” since a month or so. “People are not taking cabs. Many are indulging in budget travel due to pay cuts,” he said.
Among the changes initiated to accommodate the higher number of tourists amidst the pandemic, many homestay owners like Ramachandran are doing away with common campfires, instead making it a first-come-first-served basis.