Dharamshala: The COVID-19 pandemic has been terrible for several businesses, but the travel and tourism industry is among the worst affected sectors.
People engaged in taxi and hotel services have been negatively impacted as tourists are not visiting the state with the country under lockdown to combat coronavirus.
"Our business has taken a hit due to COVID-19. An estimated 50-60% of the total revenue in a year was generated in April, May and June. We will not do so now due to COVID-19. We are concerned how'll we pay our staff salaries," Vijay Inder, a hotelier in Dharamshala told ANI.
Demanding help from the government, he said: "Many hoteliers have taken loans from banks. Although the government has asked the banks to defer the EMI for some time, it will not be sufficient for us. We want them to waive off interest at least for one year.
The government should also release a package for people involved in the tourism industry, who now have become jobless." Despite relaxation in lockdown, taxi operators here are unhappy as there are no customers.
"The entire taxi industry depends on tourists. The tourists are not coming here which is a problem for us. The locals are not stepping out due to COVID-19.
Around 2000 to 2500 families depend on taxi services. The government should help us. The banks should waive off the interest on EMIs and insurance of our vehicles," said Varun, Secretary Dharamshala taxi union, who is also a taxi operator.
The countrywide lockdown to curb COVID-19, which was scheduled to end on May 3, has been extended by another two weeks till May 17.