The tourism sector in Mysuru is going through a lean patch with the footfall hitting a low in the run-up to the end of the financial year.
The palace, which normally attracts thousands of tourists daily, appears deserted at this time of the year. Similar is the case with other places of tourist interest in Mysuru and surrounding areas including Srirangapatna.
But contrary to perceptions, this has nothing to do with the COVID-19 or the fear surrounding it though the lowdown in the tourism sector was initially attributed to the fear arising out of the spread of the virus. This is a seasonal phase and the low follows the peak the sector attains during December/January.
Palace Board officials who maintain a daily record of the number of tourists visiting the Amba Vilas Palace said the visitors flow tends to dip from the second or third week of January every year and hit a low during February and March.
This is because the academic year draws to a close around March and the final examination for schools and board exams for PUC/12th standard students are held during the months extending upto April. Consequently, domestic tourists who keep the tourism sector floating in Mysuru do not travel during February/March and April.
A comparison of the number of tourists who visited the palace in February last year with the footfall this year indicates that there is no significant decline in the tourist inflow. The palace attracted 93,566 tourists between February 1 and 13 this year and the number of visitors during the corresponding period last year was 97,978, the difference being negligible given the minor fluctuation that takes place on a daily basis.
The statistics of the number of visitors to the palace gives a broad trend of the tourist inflow as it is considered that very few first-time visitors to the city skip the palace though the same cannot be said about other places including the zoo which also attracts local visitors.
Stakeholders in the hospitality sector whose fortunes hinges on the tourist inflow also aver that the occupancy rates in most hotels tends to be low during February and March as it is examination time. Mysuru receives nearly 3.5 million tourists every year and generates nearly 80,000 to 100,000 direct employment and keeps the wheels of the city economy turning. More than 50 per cent of the tourists tend to be from the neighbouring States of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Almost 95 per cent of the tourists visiting Mysuru are domestic travellers; international tourists make up for hardly 1 or 2 per cent of the total traffic.