The inflow of domestic tourists to the City have come down following the numerous political agitations that have rocked Hyderabad for the last two years.
Even though official figures of domestic tourism gives a feel good factor about Hyderabad being in the list of top destinations, the ground reality seems different. While festival crowds swell, actual domestic tourists are dwindling, they say.
The tour operators, who were doing good business until recent months, blame it on the prevalent political instability. However, this stance is not quite convincing to many for lack of evidence as political turmoil due to the T factor has been subdued this year as compared to last year.
According to Hyderabad Metro Rail, the latest figures of domestic tourists’ arrivals in Hyderabad and Ranga Reddy stand at 17,29,987 which is somewhere equal to that of last year. However, the domestic tour operators who experienced some business during the summer, point out that they are making losses owing to reasons like Telangana agitation. “We are paying taxes from our pockets. What else can we say? This has been going on for three-four months,” says Prakash, a tour operator in Secunderabad.
The number of domestic tourist visits (DTVs) to Andhra Pradesh was 153.1 lakh last year. With 18 per cent share, it stood second for both number of tourists and share, as per the official figures.
Hyderabad is the top destination for tourists visiting from Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra and West Bengal. But, according to the Hyderabad and Secunderabad Cities Contract Carriage Bus Owner’s Association, there has been a drop in the number of tourists coming to the City.
“What keeps us busy is the local population which engage buses for marriages and parties. Those who are specialised in tourism are experiencing losses,” acknowledges Mauzam Ahmed, general secretary of the association.
One of the reasons pointed out by City operators is the political disturbances. The last few months according to them were the ‘worst’.
Interestingly, those who are more into international tourism are untouched by the phenomenon. Garuda India Holidays, much of whose focus is on international tourists is doing business as usual. “We are doing good business,” quipped Johnson John, manager, operations, Garuda.
However, the AP Tourism Development Corporation claims the success of CoP as an important achievement as part of tourism promotion. “Because of the several hotels engaged for the event, domestic tourists might have postponed their plans. Otherwise there is no big dip in the numbers,” said B Srinivas, executive director.