Myusuru, Mar 15 : The city of palaces, which is a tourist favorite destination for all seasons, is feeling the heat of the restrictions and precautionary measures that are being rolled out to manage the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and bird flu (Avian Influenza) outbreaks. Though February and March tend to be low-seasons given the examination season, the occupancy rates in hotels were never this low, according to stakeholders.
“Even during the worst season, the occupancy rates would hover around 30 per cent to 40 per cent. But it has slipped to around 10 per cent,” according to Narayanagowda of Mysuru Hotel Owners’ Association. But what has come as a double whammy for restaurant and hotel owners is the depleting patronage by locals who used to eat out during weekends or regularly.
“Since the last couple of weeks there has been a steady decline in the number of local people who eat out,” said Mr. Gowda. Consequently, many restaurants have given holidays to their employees as they are finding it difficult to pay salaries and wages. The minimum wage is Rs 12,000 per month for a cook but most draw higher as owners want to retain their services. But with declining income, the hotel industry is bracing for a long haul and may struggle to pay their wages. Stakeholders say the hospitality sector as represented by hotels providing accommodation always braces for low occupancy during February and March.
But what is disconcerting is that the bookings made for April and May are getting cancelled en masse. This is true with in-bound domestic tourists and outbound local tourists most of whom have postponed their holidays. (UNI)