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Anti-CAB protests hit tourist footfall

By SIVASISH THAKUR

GUWAHATI, Dec 7 - The intensifying anti-CAB protest has hit tourist footfall in the State, if the visibly small number of visitors to top wildlife destinations such as Kaziranga, Manas and Pobitora during the ongoing peak season is any indication.

The period from November-December to January-February forms the peak tourist season in the State, especially in its famed wildlife reserves that include two World Heritage Sites Kaziranga and Manas National Parks, Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary, Nameri National Park and Orang National Park.

�The number of tourists at Pobitora has dwindled noticeably this season,� said Mukul Tamuly, Range Officer of Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary.

�It is likely that the lesser footfall has to do with the situation arising out of the growing protests against the CAB,� he said.

Echoing similar concerns, an official of the Assam Tourism Development Corporation (ATDC)-run Aranya Lodge Complex at Kohora in Kaziranga said that unlike last year, when tourists flocked to the national park in large numbers, a distinct drop in footfall was conspicuous this season.

�December-January happens to be the peak time for tourism service providers in and around Kaziranga but the rush is definitely not there this time. We feel that the anti-CAB movement could be the main reason behind it. Yet, we are hopeful that the tourist flow will gain momentum in the coming days, as we have received a number of inquiries and bookings after December 20,� he said.

Manas National Park, another big attraction in view of its magnificent scenery and varied wildlife, too has recorded a slump in tourist footfall. �This is unusual for this time of the year when we get to see tourists in hordes. The anti-CAB protest is a likely factor in deterring tourists from outside who are probably apprehensive of possible law-and-order situations. But we are hopeful that things will ease and more tourists will come,� a Park official said.

Commenting on the developments, Dr Bibhab Kumar Talukdar, secretary general of conservation NGO Aaranyak, said socio-political stability held the key to sustainable tourism growth in Assam and contentious issues needed to be resolved by the governments as early as possible. �Tourism is a major livelihood provider in Assam, especially for people living near wildlife reserves. The governments � both the Centre and in the State � need to accord due importance to it and prevent any possible restive situation arising out of contentious socio-political issues,� he said.

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Anti-CAB protests hit tourist footfall

GUWAHATI, Dec 7 - The intensifying anti-CAB protest has hit tourist footfall in the State, if the visibly small number of visitors to top wildlife destinations such as Kaziranga, Manas and Pobitora during the ongoing peak season is any indication.

The period from November-December to January-February forms the peak tourist season in the State, especially in its famed wildlife reserves that include two World Heritage Sites Kaziranga and Manas National Parks, Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary, Nameri National Park and Orang National Park.

�The number of tourists at Pobitora has dwindled noticeably this season,� said Mukul Tamuly, Range Officer of Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary.

�It is likely that the lesser footfall has to do with the situation arising out of the growing protests against the CAB,� he said.

Echoing similar concerns, an official of the Assam Tourism Development Corporation (ATDC)-run Aranya Lodge Complex at Kohora in Kaziranga said that unlike last year, when tourists flocked to the national park in large numbers, a distinct drop in footfall was conspicuous this season.

�December-January happens to be the peak time for tourism service providers in and around Kaziranga but the rush is definitely not there this time. We feel that the anti-CAB movement could be the main reason behind it. Yet, we are hopeful that the tourist flow will gain momentum in the coming days, as we have received a number of inquiries and bookings after December 20,� he said.

Manas National Park, another big attraction in view of its magnificent scenery and varied wildlife, too has recorded a slump in tourist footfall. �This is unusual for this time of the year when we get to see tourists in hordes. The anti-CAB protest is a likely factor in deterring tourists from outside who are probably apprehensive of possible law-and-order situations. But we are hopeful that things will ease and more tourists will come,� a Park official said.

Commenting on the developments, Dr Bibhab Kumar Talukdar, secretary general of conservation NGO Aaranyak, said socio-political stability held the key to sustainable tourism growth in Assam and contentious issues needed to be resolved by the governments as early as possible. �Tourism is a major livelihood provider in Assam, especially for people living near wildlife reserves. The governments � both the Centre and in the State � need to accord due importance to it and prevent any possible restive situation arising out of contentious socio-political issues,� he said.