Uttarakhand is one of the Indian states with ample tourism opportunities. Due to the prevalence of significant religious sites, and the abundance of nature, tourism has been thriving here. That is until Covid when all the major religious events and vacations came to a standstill. Since tourism is a major source of income for Uttarakhand and the survival of thousands of small business owners are at stake, economic stimulus packages are much needed and most welcome when the Covid restrictions are lifted.
Economic package for tourism stakeholders
Tourism stakeholders will become recipients of an economic package sanctioned by the Uttarakhand Government from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund. This financial support from the state government is aimed at bringing the tourism industry back from the throes of devastation amidst the diminishing second wave of Covid-19. It’s also aimed at giving the state economy a boost.
Financial assistance to be availed
The State Government has sanctioned a directive of close to INR 66.6 Cr as relief package. Eligible beneficiaries will receive financial assistance of INR 2000 per month. The financial assistance for key stakeholders will be provided at the rate of INR 10,000. Beneficiaries can also avail exemptions in license and renewal fees. There are also interest reimbursement benefits to be availed.
Homestay owners registered with the Uttarakhand Tourism Development Board (UTDB) are eligible under the package as individual beneficiaries. People working in tourism businesses registered in tourism departments are also eligible. Registered tour operators, adventure tour operators, 630 trekking guides registered with the tourism department of Uttarakhand, 93 boat operators at the Tehri Dam reservoir in the state of Uttarakhand and businessmen in the tourism department of Uttarakhand are the beneficiaries of the support programme. Businessmen of registered rafting and aero sports also meet the eligibility criteria.
The relief amount will be deposited directly to the account of the beneficiary for a six-month long duration. Also, stakeholders under the Veer Chandra Singh Garhwali and Deendayal Upadhyay Home Stay Scheme loan (tourism self-employment schemes) will receive financial assistance on their interest reimbursements for a 6-month period.
How to avail the support
To avail the support, eligible stakeholders in the tourism industry need to register on the Uttarakhand tourism portal. After successful application process, approvals and confirmations received, the concerned District tourism Development Officer (DTDO) will deposit the relief amount directly in the bank account of the beneficiary through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) on behalf of the District Magistrate.
The financial assistance for key stakeholders will be provided at the rate of INR 10,000.
What’s in it for me?
The registered beneficiaries who will receive relief from this economic support package are in need of financial support since they have suffered heavy losses and closure of business due to back to back covid waves. The tourism industry has suffered heavy losses due to covid. The small business operators have been the worst affected in this industry. Prolonged lockdowns have made it impossible to make any income since last year. Brief respite from lockdowns are too short to make any recovery possible for small business owners.
The major religious tourism events popular in the state of Uttarakhand like the Chota Char Dham Yatra and the Kedarnath yatra could not be materialised. Since these are major sources of income for Uttarakhand which relies heavily on the tourism economy, businesses who wait year-round for these events are left stranded. The stakeholders faced financial problems and if they are to make a comeback, relief aid and economic stimulus packages are much-needed.