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Updated on: Saturday, August 07, 2021, 12:20 PM IST

Double whammy: Fresh blow for COVID-19-hit Himachal Pradesh as landslides due to heavy rains keep tourists away

Chandigarh-Manali highway was blocked near Mandi area after landslide  | ANI

Chandigarh-Manali highway was blocked near Mandi area after landslide | ANI

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New Delhi: Tourism sector in Kangra district, already struggling due to COVID-19 pandemic, has now been hit by landslides caused by heavy rains, said Sunaina Sharma, Himachal Pradesh’s District Tourism Officer (DTO).

"COVID-19 is a key reason why the tourism sector has been affected adversely ever since March 2020. When you talk about Kangra, there are stations like Beed, Dharamshala with a lot of foreign tourist visitors. But COVID hit that as well," said the District Tourism Officer.

"The incidents due to heavy rainfall have also affected tourism. Traditionally, the rainy season leads to less tourism here but the impact this time has been massive. Our tourism had picked up after Covid-19 but incidents of road cave-ins and landslides once again brought it down," Sharma further said.

Sunaina Sharma also talked about the data which showed steep decline in tourist footfall. "Earlier in June, after COVID restrictions were relaxed, tourism picked up quite well. The occupancy had reached 90% in tourism units. Till July 10-11, it stayed the same. But weather changes reduced our occupancy to less than 10%. In spite of weekend tourists and business visits picking up, occupancy still is within 10-15%," she said.

Meanwhile, last month, numerous landslides triggered by incessant rainfall claimed many lives in the hill state. On August 4, Nahan-Kumarhatti road on National Highway 907 in Himachal Pradesh was closed due to a massive landslide. On August 1, the State Disaster Management Authority had said that the state had suffered a loss worth 632 crores due to landslides, rains, and cloudbursts.

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Published on: Saturday, August 07, 2021, 12:20 PM IST
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