The tourism industry in Assam has suffered an estimated loss of Rs 1,000 crore because of the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, PTI reported on Wednesday.
At least 26 people have died in nationwide protests against the amended citizenship law and the proposed National Register of Citizens. Five people have died in Assam, which was the initial epicentre of the protests, when the police opened fire on protestors on December 17. Curfew was imposed across the state and internet services were shut for almost ten days.
The chairperson of the Assam Tourism Development Corporation, Jayanta Malla Baruah, told reporters on Tuesday that the sector has been hit by a wave of protests and will be affected in January too.
“The peak season of tourism is from December to March,” Baruah said. “Due to violence during the protests, the sector suffered badly. We estimate that the loss in December and January will be Rs 500 crore each.”
“Because of the impact on the peak season, we expect 30% fall in tourist footfall in the overall 2019-’20 financial year,” he added. “We hope to slightly recover from this situation in February.”
Baruah said domestic and foreign tourists’ arrival was on the rise since 2016, The Telegraph reported. “With our brand of Awesome Assam becoming popular globally, we were expecting not less than 65 lakh domestic tourists and around 45,000 foreign tourists this season,” the ATDC chairperson said. “But in contrast to last year, at least 16,041 fewer tourists have travelled to Kaziranga National Park alone this December.”
He said video clips will be circulated on social media to promote Assam tourism. “However, it will take at least two to three years to revive the industry totally,” Baruah added.
Last week, tourism officials had estimated that about two lakh domestic and international tourists cancelled or postponed their trip to the Taj Mahal in the city of Agra in Uttar Pradesh in the past two weeks because of the protests against amended citizenship law.
Seven countries – the United States, Britain, Russia, Israel, Singapore, Canada and Taiwan – have issued travel advisories to their citizens, asking them to exercise caution while visiting India, especially to areas where demonstrations are taking place.
The Citizenship Amendment Act, approved by Parliament on December 11, provides citizenship to refugees from six minority religious communities from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, provided they have lived in India for six years and entered the country by December 31, 2014.