Hospitality industry of Kullu-Manali has been shut since March 22 because of Covid-19 threat, which has rendered over two lakh people jobless in the district.
The livelihoods had been affected severely as majority people in Kullu were associated with hospitality industry. They were demanding bailout package from state and central governments for the revival of tourism industry.
The worst affected are those associated with adventure sports activities like river rafting, paragliding, river crossing, mountain hiking besides the tour operators.
Taxi operators, dhaba and restaurant owners, hoteliers, photographers — and village women who used to earn their livelihood by dressing up tourists with local dresses, had been affected badly because of the closure of tourism industry.
With the advent of April every year tourist influx would increase manifold in Kullu-Manali, providing self-employment opportunities for the residents of district. But this time they all are in utter despair because of current crisis.
In Kullu district, more than 320 agencies were registered for paragliding service, while around 400 pilots were providing their service to entertain tourists.
Similarly, over 100 agencies for river rafting and around 400 rafts were registered for the service. Each raft requires a navigator.
The village women of nine villages in Ujhi valley under Manali sub division in Kullu district had lost their source of livelihood. They used to earn money by dressing up tourists in local attire at key tourists destinations in the region.
Those associated with tourism industry lamented that, “The Covid-19 threat had brought doom to the tourism industry. The state and Central governments should provide a bailout package to the tourism industry for its revival to benefit each and every person associated with this industry in Kullu district.”