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Himachal Pradesh hoteliers seek government aid for revival

Saturday, October 24, 2020, 12:00 Hrs  [IST]

Reeling under losses amid several restrictions on travelling to the state due to COVID-19, the Federation of Himachal Hotels and Restaurants has asked the state government to come to its rescue.

The hospitality industry has taken a severe hit. The state government allowed unrestricted entry of tourists from mid-September, which came as a big relief for the hard-pressed tourism sector. However, hoteliers in the hill state feel government needs to immediately come to the aid of the industry to put it back on track.

“Our industry is in dire straits. Hotels and restaurants have remained shut for about six months and only recently have started opening for tourists. Inter-State air-conditioned buses are still not operating and railways are still to resume normal operations. Sentiments of the tourists are down. Tourists from Gujarat, Maharashtra and Bengal, who used to travel in bulk during the Dasara-Diwali holidays, are not coming this year. We are only getting a few tourists from Punjab and Haryana on the weekends,” Sanjay Sood, vice-president of the Federation, told The Hindu.

Sood said even by the most conservative estimates, it will take nothing less than a year and half before businesses might see some recoveries. “The low occupancy has impacted the revenue generation and hotels are not in a position to pay for the house tax and other levies in this financial year. There is hardly 20%-25 % occupancy in hotels, and thus the power load consumption is also not more than 20%-25% of the connected load. In these difficult times, we want the Electricity Board not to make profit out of the misery of the hoteliers. We request full waiver of load charges for at least another six months,” he said.

“We also urge the state government to allow movement of inter-state AC buses as in the absence of proper air connectivity, these buses are the only viable and comfortable mode of transportation for the inter-State tourists. Hotel industry is on the verge of collapse and we look forward towards the State government to save it by waivers,” he said. (Source: The Hindu)

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