Dehradun/Nainital/Mussoorie: With Covid-19 cases slowly coming down and the government lifting restrictions, business owners are once again hopeful of a better tourist footfall and an improved revenue. Notably, restrictions on the number of people allowed to assemble and night curfew were removed this week.
“We have already seen a 10%-20% increase in customer footfall since the night curfew and other restrictions were lifted. Business has been very erratic in the past two years and in order to stay ahead of the curve we will make some changes in the coming weeks. This way we hope to attract a larger customer base and make up for some of the earlier losses,” said Tarun Kumar, manager of a biker’s café on Mussoorie road.
Traders said that with the cases dipping, more people have started venturing out and the weekends will also gradually see a better turnout.
“There wasn’t a major difference in the number of shoppers on weekends during the restrictions, but now, we hope to see an improved footfall. The result will be visible only after a few weeks. Even on a Saturday we had more people visit the store in comparison to the previous months,” said Kavita Baddi, the owner of a clothing store on Rajpur road.
Vehicular movement has increased in the city too, specially with no night curfew in place. However, officials maintain that there hasn’t been a major change.
“Traffic movement at night is constant. Though there has been a slight increase in traffic movement towards Mussoorie with more people now venturing out to travel,” said superintendent of police (Traffic) Akshay Konde.
Businessmen from Mussoorie also welcomed the lifting of restrictions and expressed that it will help in improving tourist influx to the hill town. “It is a welcome move and would help in definitely improving the confidence of tourists and conveying the message that Omicron is behind us now. Overall, very positive for tourism,” said Sandeep Sahni, president of hotels’ association of Uttarakhand.
Similar sentiments were expressed by Rajat Aggarwal, president of traders’ association of Mussoorie. “Lifting of restrictions would help in increasing tourist footfall and improving business, especially for restaurants, bars and cinemas,” Aggarwal said.
Ved Sah, secretary of the hotel association from Nainital, said that this weekend the situation was better than the earlier months. “Though the restriction in place was only night curfew, due to the panic created, the tourist influx in the town was very less. But now, since the restrictions have been lifted, the results will be seen in the coming weeks,” Sah added.
Naresh Gupta, GM Mannu Maharani, said the month of January was very disappointing for traders due to Covid protocols. “Tourists used to come to Nainital to enjoy the snowfall, but this time business was slow. But now, things have started improving and the trend seems much better for the coming days. Weekend bookings have increased by 70%-75%, on working days it is 30%-40%,” Gupta added.
Kailash Mishra, who works at a garment shop in Nainital, said that during the working days, the situation is still the same, but on the weekends, tourists have started visiting the city.
“During snowfall, there were a few tourists in the city from the area around Nainital, who were arriving in the morning and returning in the evening. So, hotel bookings were few. The winter stock was hardly bought by the 10% of local customers. The situation is improving now and we hope that good days are going to come back soon,” Mishra added.
(with inputs from Anmol Jain and Sonali Mishra)