The latest victim of the nation-wide anti-CAA protests is the tourism industry. At least seven countries have issued travel advisories to their citizens asking them to either refrain from visiting or to exercise caution while visiting regions embroiled in protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 (CAA). These include United States, Britain, Russia, Israel, Singapore, Canada and Taiwan.
According to a report in The Times of India, the most popular tourist destination – the Taj Mahal – has seen a 36 percent dip in footfall this year. Citing data from ASI officials, the report said that 2018 saw over 7 lakh toursists, including foreigners, visiting the Taj Mahal in December. This year, the number has dipped to 4.5 lakh.
Meanwhile, officials told Mint that over 200,000 domestic and international tourists have either cancelled or postponed their trip to the Taj Mahal in the past two weeks. The 17th Century marble monument is located in Agra city of Uttar Pradesh, which has seen the most number of violent protests. Suspension of internet services has also affected tourism in the state.
Assam, which has been witnessing vociferous protests since the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Bill, has a similar story to tell. The north eastern state, which is home to the world's largest concentration of one-horned rhinoceroses, gets an average of 5 lakh tourists in December.
"But this time, due to the ongoing protests and travel advisories by various countries, the number is down by 90% if not more," Jayanta Malla Baruah, Head of Assam Tourism Development Corp., told Mint.
The gloom has even spread to Goa, where occupancy in hotels is reportedly as low as 50 percent. The drop in the number of foreign arrivals is evident in the reducing number of charter tourists. December 2018 saw 42,000 charter arrivals as against less than 19,000 charter arrivals till December 17 this year. As a result of diminishing footfall, hoteliers across Goa have even lowered tariffs.
Tourism was also affected in Odisha, where people from West Bengal for the lion’s share of tourists visiting the temple town of Puri and other places. The tourism industry is under pressure as many trains were cancelled from Bengal owing to anti-CAA protests.
Similar reports have emerged from Munsyari in Uttarakhand, and Dharamshala and Dalhousie in Himachal Pradesh, which has seen
30 percent bookings as compared to the previous year.