Nationwide lockdown has impacted the Tourism Department in Bihar. Employees are worried as they receive no subsidy from the government.
Gaya: Due to the lockdown, the Tourism Department of Bihar has witnessed an 83 percent drop in the number of tourist when compared to the past three years. Bodh Gaya, Rajgir and Nalanda are the prominent Buddhist spots where foreigners from Japan, Thailand and Hong Kong used to visit but this year, it was different.
Santosh Kumar, a tourist guide at the Ruins of Nalanda University said, “Previously, 10,000 tickets were booked per day from all across the world but now not even 500 are booked. We aren’t earning Rs 200 a day. I had to mortgage my house.”
Authorities said the government didn’t provide any subsidy during these times.
The General Secretary of Bodh Gaya Hotel Association, Sudama Kumar said, “Government hasn’t provided us any subsidy. In fact they have pressurized us to keep the employees and give them salaries. The situation here is that we might have to sell our hotels for survival.”
Bihar is well known for its archaeological and historical sites. Foreigners used to visit the Mahabodhi temple and different monasteries in Bihar. But this year due to travel restrictions people couldn’t visit the places.
Shaaf Zubairi, a tourist from Rajgir said, “January was the last time I went to Rajgir. There is still a constant fear of getting infected that’s why I refrain from visiting tourist spots.”
Apart from foreign tourism, domestic tourism has also been impacted. Around 33 million people across the country visited but this year till October, the number came to 5 million according to the Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation.
“There was no job, nothing for guides. There should be relief for the employees because a lot of people have lost their jobs and without the help of the government nothing can come back to place,” said Sanjay Sharma, the Co-chairman of Bihar Tourism Association.