BENGALURU: The novel coronavirus (nCoV) outbreak has led to several countries in South Asia placing restrictions on travel and the entry of foreign nationals into the country. Speaking on the global epidemic, Surya Thappalia, Tourism Development Board of Nepal manager, said, “Coronavirus has hit tourism to a large extent. There is a need for all South Asian countries to join hands with India to decide which destinations are safe to travel to.”
He was speaking at the inauguration of a three-day Travel and Tourism Fair in the city on Friday. He said that the fear of coronavirus was starting to show not just in Nepal, but in other South Asian countries as well.
He said that the 2015 earthquake in Nepal, Indo-Nepal religious tourism remained unaffected and in fact, the number of tourists from India and other countries increased. “However, the outbreak is starting to affect tourism. Any global phenomena has a direct impact on tourism. So India as a country, should take the lead and tell the world that it was safe to travel to South Asian countries,” he said.
Rajanath Atnayaka, a delegate from Sri Lanka, said that the Easter Bombings in 2019 did not have a profound impact on Sri Lankan tourism but the nCoV outbreak is starting to take a toll on the industry and that the problem needed to be addressed.
Delegates from various Indian states, used the platform to assert that tourism in India was still an expensive affair due to the high taxes associated with hotels and inbound travel. They said, “For domestic tourism to grow, the government should relax taxes. In fact, even staying at low-cost hotels is an expensive affair for domestic tourists due to the taxes, even though the services provided are poor. International and domestic tourists have taken a note of this and now even the government should look into it.”
The three-day event is supported by the Ministry of Tourism, Karnataka state tourism board, national tourist organisations and private stakeholders.
Participants from 10 countries, 23 states and Union Territories participated in a trade fair, with over 200 stalls offering the itineraries of various destinations.
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