Tirupati: Tourism sector crippled by lockdown
- Pilgrim city Tirupati contributes major share of revenue to APTDC
- The package tours alone fetch an income of about Rs 2.5 cr per month and another Rs 1.5 cr comes from hotels
- As pilgrims visit temples availing packages organised by APTDC, petty traders and vendors derive employment
- Economic activity also came to a halt at tourist destination Horsley Hills known as Andhra Ooty
Tirupati: Tourism sector came to a standstill with the country in lockdown for the past three weeks. This sector also contributes significantly to the exchequer while Tirupati and Visakhapatnam divisions being major revenue earners for the AP Tourism Development Corporation (APTDC).
Pilgrim packages occupy a pivotal role in APTDC Tirupati division while hotels are the major source of revenue for Visakhapatnam division. Tirupati division has been operating several package tours for pilgrims to worship Lord Venkateswara from various parts in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and from Visakhapatnam in AP.
As many as 19 tours are being operated daily by the Corporation with highest number of 8 packages from Bengaluru alone followed by 3 from Chennai, 2 each from Coimbatore and Karur in Tamil Nadu, one each from Madurai, Puducherry, Visakhapatnam and Mangalore. Apart from these it operates four daily tours to local temples to cover Tirupati and surrounding places and another two non-local tours. In addition to these customised on demand tours are there.
All these packages together contribute an average of Rs 2.5 crore per month to APTDC. The seven hotels located at various places in the district including Tirumala have been contributing about Rs 1.5 crore whereas the major tourist attraction Horsley Hills known as Andhra Ooty earns around Rs 50 lakh per month, disclosed, RV Suresh Kumar Reddy, APTDC Divisional Manager.
Due to lockdown, all these activities were stopped and the Corporation has been losing its revenue. The problem is not related to APTDC alone. There are several others who benefit with these activities through indirect employment. Several petty traders and vendors at many temples earn their livelihood through the pilgrims visiting those places. Guides who work with APTDC also lost employment for the last three weeks.
Horsley Hills near Madanapalle in Chittoor district attracts many visitors during this season. Being at a height of 4,312 feet above sea level, the hill station would be an ideal destination for weekend holidays. It provides good entertainment for the visitors with several adventure activities and sight-seeing places. APTDC is having 55 rooms there which are all vacant now due to lockdown restrictions.
All the economic activity at the hills has vanished forcing many people face temporary unemployment. With uncertainty on the restoration of economic activity still continuing, this sector may find it difficult to bounce back in the near future.