In a recent interview, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jairam Thakur said that he plans to make Himachal Pradesh India’s and the world’s ‘quarantine destination’, in an attempt to boost tourism. While there has been a lot of push back and opposition for the same, will Himachal Pradesh actually start #QuarantineTourism remains to be seen.
Quarantine Tourism In Himachal Pradesh
In a recent interview Jai Ram Thakur said that Himachal Pradesh – the land of hills and beauty – could be an excellent quarantine facility for those looking to rejuvenate. He added that if in the days to come COVID-19 and its impact reduces across the country and people are advised to quarantine for 14-15 days, they could choose Himachal Pradesh. Hotels and the resorts are being identified for this. He expects this to boost tourism in the state and help increase the state’s tourism revenues that have been heavily affected by the virus. As many as 1.7 crore tourists — including 3.8 lakh foreign and 1.6 crore domestic tourists — arrived in the state through 2019. For obvious reasons, 2020 has taken a major hit to tourism. According to a recent estimate, in 2020 alone hotels in Himachal Pradesh have lost around ₹800 crore in revenue.
Compared to other Indian states, Himachal Pradesh has relatively lesser numbers of coronavirus cases. In fact, the CM mentioned that he was hoping to start public transport from June 1, but social distancing will be strictly followed.
Opposition For #QuarantineTourism Idea
While there was a lot of support for the CM’s Quarantine tourism idea, he has also faced a lot of resistance. State Congress president Kuldeep Singh Rathore said in a statement, “It is not only wrong to present Himachal as a quarantine destination but it may prove dangerous for the state. The Congress will not accept this decision to give an open invitation to the pandemic.”
“It has already become difficult to control coronavirus in Himachal Pradesh due to the recent spurt in cases and if the state is turned into a quarantine destination, the situation might get out of hand.” It wasn’t just the Congress though as Shimla Hotel and Restaurant Association (SHRA) president Sanjay Sood expressed concern that if Himachal Pradesh was seen as only a quarantine centre, regular tourists may stop coming. He added that Thakur should have taken the approach Goa is following.
Well, we don’t know if Thakur’s plan will be set in motion or when and how tourism will restart in various states. However, we do need to accept our new reality and tourism through coronavirus. With flights starting on May 25th & Places Opening Up For Tourism Again Rather Cautiously, this may be the next step. Do you think its a good idea? Let us know in the comments below!
In the mean time, take a look at some of Himachal Pradesh’s pretty spots from 2019 and give yourself a virtual tour from home.