- BEOs direct schools not to take students on excursions
- Solar eclipse to begin at 8 am and end at 11 am tomorrow
Mysuru: Tomorrow’s three-hour Annular Solar Eclipse starting from 8 am and ending at 11 am and the protests against Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) have cast a dark shadow over tourist arrivals in city. Mysuru that was teeming with tourists yesterday, is witnessing a decrease in tourist footfall due to tomorrow’s eclipse.
According to Mysuru Hotel Owners’ Association President C. Narayanagowda, this December and year-end has seen a dip of 25 percent in tourist arrival. “December is the peak tourism season and the hospitality industry records full occupancy rates. The protests and eclipse have definitely hit tourist footfall as we have witnessed 25 percent fall when compared to last year,” he told Star of Mysore this morning.
Mysuru is among the most popular destinations for tourists during Christmas vacations that extend till New Year. The peak year-end tourism season commences from the second week of December and lasts till the first week of January when there used to be 100 percent occupancy in all the small, medium and high-grade hotels, resorts and serviced apartments. “The present occupancy rates hover around 80 to 83 percent,” Narayanagowda confirmed.
Hotels and resorts in Mysuru, Kodagu, and Chikkamagaluru that are much sought-after destinations during the season and have reported a drop in bookings. “Though there has been advance booking, approximately over 40 percent of the bookings have been cancelled. If the protests continue, it will hit us badly,” say tour operators.
Advisory to schools
Meanwhile, in view of the ongoing protests against the CAA, Block Education Officers (BEOs) are issuing a blanket ban on all school trips and have asked the authorities of the institutes to not go ahead with any such plans till further notice. Education Department officials have cited law and order issues and hence do not want the schools to risk the students’ life by taking them out on trips.
Even for school trips, year-end is usually the preferred. All schools need to take prior permission from the respective jurisdictional BEO for a trip. Now the BEOs have issued orders to scrap the tour plans. “We have instructed schools through BEOs not to send children on tours. Only those schools that have been granted permission can take children till next Saturday. All tours beginning after next Saturday have been cancelled and no fresh permission will be granted,” Mysuru DDPI Panduranga told SOM.
Officials defended the action and said that the ban was imposed keeping in mind the safety of students. “There are many occasions where students get stranded. Even the school management finds it difficult to manage the crowd in such a case. So, it is better to avoid such situations than getting caught in the cross-fire,” said an Education Department official. Probably due to the Education Department orders, there has been a 25 to 30 percent drop in student crowd in city. The worst affected are students from Dakshina Kannada and Udupi who have chosen not to come to Mysuru at least till the protests are over.
Tourist flow normal, claim officials
Tourism Department officials, however, said that there has been no decline in tourist flow. Department Deputy Director H. Janardhan said that eclipse and CAA has not had any impact in Mysuru. “The situation is bad in coastal areas but here there are regular December tourists and for them, we have planned a series of events in city,” he said. Even Chamundi Hill in-charge Executive Officer N.S. Yathiraj Sampathkumaran, who is also the Muzrai Tahsildar, said that the Hill Temple has seen a steady flow of tourists. “We have had our share of December tourists yesterday and today. Tomorrow, the flow might take a hit due to the solar eclipse,” he added. Assistant Executive Engineer of Cauvery Neeravari Nigama Limited – that manages the Krishna Raja Sagar (KRS) Dam – Vasudev said that the KRS was full of tourists. “Eclipse and CAA has not affected us. And we expect the numbers to rise today evening due to Christmas vacation and the year-end festivities,” he said.