The outbreak of Chikungunya and dengue in Delhi must be dealt with on a war-footing both by the Centre and the state government as the disease taking epidemic proportion is expected to result in a loss to the tourism and aviation industries, states an ASSOCHAM study.
Delhi registers about 35 per cent of India’s total foreign tourist influx as they use the national Capital as a transit during their travel. Delhi attracts a fairly large number of foreign tourists during the peak season that begins from October.
But it is not just Delhi that is hit. With the Rajasthan government now cautioning tourists against the impending epidemic, the number of tourists visiting Jaipur, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Bikaner, Jaisalmer and other locations in the western state is also coming down drastically.
During the winter season, roughly 2.5-3 lakh foreign tourists visit the Golden Triangle Circuit of Delhi-Agra-Jaipur, accounting for about 30 per cent of the total number of the inbound traffic in the country.
According to official figures, about 30 per cent (approx eight lakh) of the foreign tourists who arrive at the Delhi airport are bound for the Golden Triangle.
“With increasing cases of chikungunya and dengue and the kind of negative reaction on the tourists, the traffic is set to drop drastically, leaving a bruising impact on businesses such as hotels, airlines, taxi operators, restaurants etc,” says ASSOCHAM secretary-general DS Rawat.
“Our study has shown that many tour operators are now gearing up with precautionary steps for foreigners arriving in Delhi during the peak tourist season set to begin from October this year,” he adds.
The US Embassy in New Delhi also issued health advisory for their tourists visiting India, saying on their website that Outbreaks of mosquito-borne viral diseases such as dengue and chikungunya occur in various parts of India every year. Earlier, the UK Embassy had issued health advisory on chikungunya sharing vital information about its symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, prevention and epidemiology.
In all, the monthly foreign exchange earnings from the foreign tourists arrivals are $1.5-2 billion a month during the winter season. While the arrivals get disbursed to Maharashtra, south India and Goa coasts, a large concentration is around the Golden Triangle.