Coronavirus impacts tourist bookings in Ladakh

Ladakh, known as the cold desert, is a famous international tourist destination attracting large number of visitors especially interested in mountain expeditions and longer solitary stays. In 2019 also, there was dip in tourist arrivals in Ladakh ...

SRINAGAR: Tourism industry in newly formed Union Territory of Ladakh is staring at a rough phase this year as advance bookings and queries have decreased significantly due to corona virus scare, even as the new season is set to start in April.

Tourism operators in Ladakh have kept fingers crossed expecting this scare to ward off in March itself, so that they could expect better tourist arrivals in late summer and autumn season. The bookings from South-East Asian and European countries, which was a regular feature in March every year, have been either cancelled, put on a halt or there hasn’t been any query from these countries at all.

“Bookings and queries have significantly decreased. Corona virus scare is going to impact the tourist arrival here. Saving one’s life is always a priority than travelling to an exotic place,” Jor Psewang, president of Hotel Association in Leh told ET.


Ladakh, known as the cold desert, is a famous international tourist destination attracting large number of visitors especially interested in mountain expeditions and longer solitary stays. In 2019 also, there was dip in tourist arrivals in Ladakh due to Lok Sabha election, erratic flight services and late opening of Leh-Manali highway.

“We recently held winter conclave here to attract more tourists and create avenues for tourism, but this health scare has created a hurdle right in the beginning,” said Psewang, who expected early arrival a summer as COVID-19 virus doesn’t survive in high temperature.

“We hope there is some clarity about this virus scare by end of this month, otherwise it is bad signal for us, as it will ruin the tourism season for the whole year. We already have very limited period of tourism activity here,” said Tsetan Angchuk, president of Ladakh Tour Operators Association.
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The mountainous region of Ladakh remains cutoff for almost six months as its two main connecting roads—434-km Srinagar-Leh and 490km Manali-Leh is blocked due to heavy snowfall. The tourists arrive here between April and October.

“Our tourist season is also impacted by the late opening of highways, which only adds to our problem. Corona Virus health issue has further aggravated our problems,” said Angchuk.

Meanwhile in Kashmir, tourism industry is going though worst crisis in past three decades due to prevailing political situation, which has only worsened due to corona virus scare.
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