As a result of the Coronavirus outbreak, the tourism sector in the Northeast has gone for a toss. Northeast is home to many hill stations and November to April is considered as the peak season for the tourism industry. In order to assess the ground reality, Republic Media Network on Friday went to meet people associated with the industry and the picture that we got was very disheartening. The hotels in the city wear a deserted look and most of the tourist cabs are also off-road.
Speaking to Republic Media Network, Jayanta Malla Barua, Chairman of Assam Tourism Development Cooperation, said that the tourism sector has suffered a massive loss.
"It was the peak tourist season in the Northeast. We were expecting at least sixty thousand foreign tourist footfalls this year. But now we cannot achieve it," Barua said.
He also added that the region already suffered a massive loss in December because of anti-CAA protests in Assam, followed by tensions in Shillong. The State government had already asked all the foreigners in the State to leave. "We requested all the foreigners to leave for their respective places because of the Coronavirus outbreak and all of them have already left," he added.
He further added that though one tourist who travelled to Bhutan via Assam and was detected positive on his arrival in the neighbouring country, none who came in contact with him during his stay in Assam have been tested positive.
Meanwhile, the hotels in the city also have suffered a huge loss in business. The All Assam Hoteliers Association president Anupam Bora has informed that they are maintaining all the safeguard measures issued by the government, however, with no tourists around, the normal business has been hampered.
"Because of the anti-CAA protests, followed by the law and order situation in Shillong, we faced huge losses already. On the other hand, the State government has been imposing one after another tax on us, so it has become difficult for us now," Bora said.
The Tour Operators Association of Assam also reiterated the same. Speaking to us, Ranjit Das, the president of the association said, "The situation was slightly improving following anti-CAA protests and the law and order situation in Shillong, but with the Coronavirus outbreak now we don't have any hope in this season." The cab operators and other businesses directly or indirectly associated with the tourism sector have also faced huge losses.
Meanwhile, the States of Mizoram, Sikkim, and Arunachal Pradesh have restricted entry of foreigners. Mizoram has sealed the international border with Bangladesh and Myanmar, whereas Manipur has also sealed the international border with Myanmar.