Mysore/Mysuru: Showing signs of early revival of the COVID-battered tourism sector, thousands of visitors are thronging landmarks of Mysuru and are booking hotels and resorts to see the illumination that has been extended till Oct. 24.
Normally, hotels see guests checking out after the Dasara procession. But this year, post-Dasara days too are seeing increased bookings of accommodations, travel and tourist vehicles up to 60 percent and more.
On Saturday, the day after Jumboo Savari, over 20,000 devotees visited the Sri Chamundeshwari Temple atop Chamundi Hill, over 20,830 visitors including 3,964 children visited the Mysuru Zoo, 2,744 visitors entered the Karanji Lake including 395 children. 19,054 tourists visited the Palace including 2,320 children and 11 foreign tourists.
Today (Sunday) there has been a dip where over 8,116 footfalls have been reported in the Zoo, over 6,000 at Palace and over 8,000 to 10,000 visitors to the Chamundi Hill till noon. From the beginning of Dasara, over 95,830 tourists have visited the Zoo, 94,000 to Chamundi Hill and over 60,000 have visited the Palace.
Increasing number of visitors are enquiring about visiting other tourist destinations including Kodagu, Kollur, Mangaluru, Chikkamagaluru, Nanjangud, Melukote and Male Mahadeshwara Hills. As if to coincide with the tourist rush, cinemas in the city too are sporting ‘houseful’ sign boards owing to two big-ticket Kannada releases.
Though the festivities were a low-key affair like last year, tourist footfall is better this year thanks to many novel initiatives by the Government like the extension of illumination by nine days after Vijayadashami, said stakeholders. Dropping number of COVID cases and increased fully vaccinated status of the people have contributed to the increased tourist flow.
Though there are not much travellers from Kerala and Tamil Nadu owing to COVID and rain fury, the number of tourists from other districts of Karnataka like Kodagu, Mandya and the IT-BT crowd from Bengaluru — mainly to see the illumination as the procession was out of bounds — is an encouraging factor to revive the ailing sector, said stakeholders.
In a media statement, Mysuru Hotel Owners Association President C. Narayanagowda said, there has been a significant revival of fortunes during Dasara with some hotels reporting 100 percent occupancy. “Occupancy rates ranged from 50-60 percent between Oct. 7 and 13 and increased to nearly 90 percent from Oct. 14 to 17,” he said.
From Oct. 18 to 20, more than 50 percent of the rooms have been booked and the same trend will continue till Oct. 24 as the illumination has been extended. Also, the cancellation of the immensely popular ‘Aahara Mela’ (Food Mela) during Dasara due to the pandemic turned out to be a blessing in disguise for hoteliers as this has led to a good turnover in restaurants and hotels.
Tours and taxi operators have seen increasing bookings to religious destinations like Kollur, Male Mahadeshwara Hills, Kukke Subramanya, Horanadu, Dharmasthala, Udupi, Melukote and Sringeri from Mysuru. Operators said that over 60 percent of the vehicles like cabs, luxury taxis and SUVs have been taken by small families and larger groups have opted for comfortable Tempo Travellers.