Kullu, August 11
With the Covid-19 disaster throwing the tourism sector into chaos, there aren’t any takers for motels, homestays and guesthouses on lease in Kullu and Manali.
While hardly any recent lease of tourism properties has taken place after the outbreak in March, others have terminated their contracts halfway. This is regardless of the Himachal Government permitting the resort trade to function from the primary week of July. There are about 1,200 motels and 800 cottages, homestays and guesthouses in Manali alone. Almost half of those are given on lease by their house owners.
Covid influence: Almost nil footfall
Just a few motels and homestays that had resumed operations have been discovering it troublesome to fulfill bills because of lack of vacationers. Fearing Covid, some panchayats have barred entry of vacationers.
“The restricted movement to hill towns is frustrating holidaymakers and ruining holiday businesses and devastating the economies that depend on them,” says a contractor from Mumbai, who renewed his Manali homestay lease in April.
With nearly zero vacationer footfall, his losses have been mounting by the day. “In April, we hoped the virus would subside soon. But that doesn’t seem to be happening. We’re digging into whatever savings are left,” he provides.
Contractors who’ve leased out properties for 3 to 5 years are into an even bigger mess. The lessees are actually negotiating with house owners to both return the advance or permit extension of lease interval. The hoteliers have been demanding moratorium on home tax and financial institution mortgage curiosity.