Guwahati: With Assam witnessing protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act last week, the tourism industry has suffered a serious setback as many tourists have cancelled their plans to visit the state. Winter is the peak tourist season in Assam, along with other northeastern states of Nagaland, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh.
“In major tourist sites of Assam 90% of the bookings till December 31 have been cancelled. Generally, at this time of the year, people stay in Jorhat and other places as there is hardly any space available in and around Kaziranga,” said a senior state tourism department official, who did not wish to be identified. At several places booking have been cancelled for the entire season, which begins in November and ends in April, said the official. Ashish Phukan, MD of Jungle Travels, a Guwahati-based tour operator, told ET: “There has been a series of cancellations and it is still continuing though the situation has returned to normal.
There are still advisories issued by embassies of the United States, Canada and United Kingdom not to travel to eastern India. All this is having a negative impact on the flow of tourists to the region. On Tuesday last week, a violent protest broke out in Guwahati and Upper Assam districts, after which curfew was clamped and mobile Internet was suspended.
Four people were killed in the protest in Guwahati. Tinsukia district is still reeling under curfew. The state tourism department provided relief to both foreign and domestic tourists stranded in Assam. “As many as 11 tourists were shifted from Kaziranga National Park, a Unesco World Heritage Site, and the room rents of some tourists were waived,” said an official. Tourists faced other problems as well, as many ATMs ran out of cash and even taxi services became inoperative.
Source: Economic Times