"In Dharamshala, we have a lot of visitors from China because his Holiness the Dalai Lama is staying there," said Sunayana Sharma. (Express photo: Tashi Tobgyal/Representational)
Coronavirus outbreak has taken a toll on tourism in and around Dharamshala, home of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and a hub for Tibetan exilees, Himachal Tourism said Friday.
"In Dharamshala, we have a lot of visitors from China because his Holiness the Dalai Lama is staying there. There are many monasteries. Many Tibetans in exile stay in Himachal Pradesh, they have many relatives in China, who sometimes come visit. So definitely it has taken a toll," said Sunayana Sharma, deputy director Himachal Tourism speaking to reporters at the inaugural of the India Travel Mart in Panaji.
"We hope the coronavirus outbreak will be a passing thing. As far as Himachal Pradesh government is concerned, we have set up a mechanism for quarantining anybody coming from China or South East Asian countries, if they display any symptoms," Sharma added.
In Goa too — another tourism-dependent state, the fear of the virus has impacted, even though all cases of quarantine have turned negative.
Goa State Tourism Director Menino D'Souza said, "That I cannot say off hand, but it has affected there is no doubt about it.”
The government’s plan to tap Chinese tourists failed after efforts to fly them down to the coastal state, had to be deferred with the news of the virus.
"We recently had a proposal for bringing down tour operators from China. We had to cancel that because we did not want to take any risk," D'Souza added.