Kodagu was out of bounds for tourists for a long time in view of its proximity to Kerala and protracted weekend curfew
Ahead of Dasara season, stakeholders of Kodagu tourism industry are hoping for a revival in footfall, thanks to the sudden rise in enquiries for hotel bookings for October.
Even as higher-end resorts and homestays are already on the path to revival with an increase in bookings from guests for longer stays, the hotel industry believes that the Dasara season would bring an opportunity to welcome tourists who had been missing Coorg and its misty hills on account of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With cases now under control and weekend curfew withdrawn, tourists are keen to return to Karnataka’s key hill station to unwind after a long pause.
B.R. Nagendra Prasad, president, Kodagu Hotels, Restaurants and Resorts’ Association, told The Hindu that enquiries for October bookings have picked up. This shows confidence is back among tourists who are ready to visit Kodagu, which was out of bounds for a long time because of COVID-19 cases and the district’s proximity to neighbouring Kerala where the positivity rate was high.
“Now, cases are dropping and the situation is returning to normal. Though there are no Dasara events barring the procession on the finale, whose plan is yet to be announced, tourists can visit Kodagu and explore its tourism attractions. October and November happen to be the best season to visit the hill station,” he said.
Mr. Prasad urged the district administration to support revival of tourism and ensure that no restrictions are imposed ahead of the Dasara season. “We will tell tourists to comply with all SOPs. Let us all establish an ambience where tourists get the confidence to explore Kodagu. Tourism industry, particularly in Kodagu, is in bad shape. Dasara can help us overcome the long-term impact of COVID-19 to some extent.”
Stakeholders said 25% of Kodagu’s population are banking on tourism for their livelihood. The COVID-19 pandemic had hit them hard, forcing many to migrate to other professions. “Some have left Kodagu for jobs in other cities. Unless tourism improves, the industry’s problems will continue. Unless no effort is made to revive tourism, the travel industry will continue to sink,” they argue.
Dasara offers the possibility of a revival, Mr. Prasad said adding that Kodagu has nearly 6,000 rooms in hotels and resorts. These rooms used to be packed in the pre-COVID-19 days. Floods and landslides also impacted tourism. Since 2018, problems for the industry have been unending, he said.
Kodagu has the largest number of homestays in Karnataka. Unconfirmed reports put the number around 25,000 rooms in homestays. Many are unauthorised with only around 2,000-plus homestays being run legally, sources in the tourism department said.
Source: Read Full Article