The tourism sector in Sonitpur District has faced a major loss due to the ongoing anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) movement.
The tourism sector of undivided Sonitpur district has major tourist spots like Kaziranga National Park, Nameri National Park, Sonai-Rupai Wildlife Sanctuary and historic Tezpur town which attract a huge number of both domestic and foreign tourists.
Earlier, during the winter season, the tourism industry in undivided Sonitpur district generated huge revenue due to the presence of tourists.
Talking to Northeast Now, the district tourism officer, Basab Bora said Tezpur, which is considered as one of the most attractive spots for the tourists, has witnessed only 154 tourists in the last three months (October-December) which are considered as the vital months for tourists visiting the region.
“Out of the 154 tourists, there were only 5 foreign tourists visiting the district as a major fear-psychosis has prevented both foreign and domestic tourists from visiting the area due to the anti-CAB and then anti-CAA movement in the region,” the official said.
He added that the Nameri National Park, adjacent to the untouched beauty of neighboiuring hill state, Arunachal Pradesh, during this season, usually witnesses hundreds of tourists besides picnic parties from across the state.
“However, this year, only 154 tourists have visited the famous national park to date,” Bora said.
Highlighting a comparison with the 2018 data with the footfall of tourists this year, Bora mentioned that last year, 294 domestic and 18 foreign tourists visited the Nameri-Bhalukpung area.
“But this time, the Nameri-Bhalukpung area has witnessed the opposite picture. Till now, Sonitpur district has recorded visit of only a total of 154 domestic and 5 foreign tourists,” said Bora.
He also said, “Last year, altogether 33,259 tourists including 2,082 foreign tourists visited the Kaziranga National Park. But this year, in the last three months, only 15,218 tourists have visited the national park.”
A similar picture is seen in Sonai-Rupai, which is often visited by tourists for enjoying its flora and fauna, different species of birds and animals.
While contacted, Kaziranga National Park director Karmasree P. Sivakumar said despite the anti-CAA movement, Kaziranga has remained still safe.
“Though we missed pre-Christmas, in the last ten days, there has been a big flow of both foreign and domestic tourists to the Kaziranga National Park which has generated a sizable amount of revenue,” said Sivakumar.
“Due to cancellation of bookings by the tourists following connectivity issue due to the bandh in the region, we also faced some problems, but now as the situation is improving, we are hopeful that the flow of tourists will continue to back up the loss,” he added.
Conveying his New Year greetings to the people, the forest official urged both the foreign and domestic tourists to visit the world-famous national park without fear.