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Haze caused by forest fire smoke hit tourism industry badly in Kumaon

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Haze caused by forest fire smoke hit tourism industry badly in Kumaon


Pithoragarh, May 19

The number of tourists visiting the Himalayan view spots of Kumaon region dipped in summer season of this year as the smoke and haze due to frequent and widespread forests fires prevented view of Himalayan peaks from those tourists spots of the region.

“We had welcomed a total of 14700 tourists till this month last year but this year the number could not even reach at 700 as the smoke emitted by forest fires has hid the snowy Himalayan peaks from Munsiyari town,” said Jagdish Rawat, president of Hotel Association of Munsiyari.

The haze which hid the Himalayan peaks also reduced summer tourists flow at Chaukori, Berinag, Patal Bhuvneswar areas of tourists routes as the tourists who used to travel there have the main attraction of viewing Himalayan peaks visible from there.

“It has affected livelihood of over 200 home stays,hotels and travels guides who remain active on this tourist route in summer months,” said  Rawat.

More than 71 home stays and hotels besides 300 travel guides and travel vehicles  have been affected due to less number of tourists this year.

“We wait for summer tourist season for some earning, but this year it turned into disappointment as the tourist either are not coming or do not want to stay more due to hazy weather this season,” said Kavita Bhandari, a home stay owner in Chaukori.

The tourists visiting these places in summer have also complained of non visible Himalayan peaks from these places.”Leave aside the Himalaya, even nearby peaks were not visible these days. We have come to Munsiyari to view Himalaya only,” said Siddharth Rao, a tourist from Mumbai , who alone with his companions reached Munsiyari to view Panchachuli peaks this month.

Amitabh, another tourist from Kolkata, who has reached Munsiyari said that his group was disappointed as dense haze has hid the ‘Panchachuli’ peaks from Munsiyari.

Shekhar Dwivedi, a journalist based in Almora said that due to non visible Himalayan peaks and other green hills nearby, over 30 percent tourists flow has been reduced this season.”The places of Himalayan or hill view like Almora, Binsar, Kasar Devi, Bradh (old) Jageshwar, Ranikhet and Manila witnessed less number of tourists this season due to non visible Himalayan peaks following prevalent haze and smoke caused by forest fires,” said Shekhar.



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