December footfall at Taj dips 36% this year due to multiple reasons
As the peak tourist season is about to just dive into its third month, UP’s most popular and most visited tourist destination, Taj Mahal, has seen a 36% dip in the footfall in December this year.
Lucknow: As the peak tourist season is about to just dive into its third month, UP’s most popular and most visited tourist destination, Taj Mahal, has seen a 36% dip in the footfall in December this year.
Local tour operators and hoteliers see multiple reasons for the fall, from widespread protests against the new citizenship act to volatile situation ahead of the Ayodhya verdict.
The fact that several countries have issued advisories to their citizens against travelling to India, has led to a sharp decline in foreign tourists, they say.
According to data provided by the ASI officials, 7 lakh tourists, including foreigners, visited Taj Mahal in December 2018 while only 4.5 lakh have visited the monument this year till date.
The fall, in fact, started from November, as only 5.4 lakh tourists visited the monument during this peak season, as compared to 6.7 lakh last year. It may be recalled that Supreme Court delivered its judgment in Ayodhya title suit on November 9.
Countries like USA, UK, Russia, Israel, Singapore, Canada and Taiwan have issued travel advisories, asking their citizens to either refrain from visiting the country or exercise caution while doing so.
Superintending Archaeologist in ASI (Agra circle) Vasant Swarankar said that this decline in footfalls was not ‘unusual’. “Though we are not aware of the exact causes of this decline, violence and unrest across the nation could be one of the reasons,” said Swarankar, adding that last Saturday (December 21) and Sunday (December 22), around 15,000 and 17,000 tourists visited the monument respectively.
This was one of the lowest footfall on weekends, as a minimum of 25,000 tourists visit Taj on these days during peak season which start from November.
According to tourism industry association members, even after booking their tickets online for visiting Taj Mahal, many domestic and international tourists have cancelled their trips due to prevailing situation across the nation, especially in western UP.
Vice-president of Tourism Guild Association, Rajiv Saxena told reporters that repeated internet shutdown in several states across the nation has sent a wrong message abroad, making people concerned about their security here.
In UP, 21 districts, inclduing Agra, remained under internet curfew of several days this month during the anti-CAA protests. Saxena claimed that the 40% decline in Indian domestic and international travel is being witnessed since the defanging of Article 370 , Ayodhya verdict and protests against the CAA.
Sandeep Arora, the president of the Agra Tourism Development Foundation, told sources that instead of announcing confidence building measures among tourists, government was spreading panic by knee-jerk reaction like suspension of internet services.