Upcoming general elections affect inflow of tourists to Uttar Pradesh

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Varanasi, Apr 2: The upcoming general elections have taken a toll on the tourism sector in Varanasi as tourists chose to stay away owing to security problems and other operating difficulties.

The river banks and the hotels which used to be buzzing with tourists at this time of year are now lying vacant.

The tourist operators and guides are all citing the hassles encountered during the elections as chief reason for the lack of tourists in the city.

"Due to elections, there are certain restrictions on the movement of the tourists. They cannot go everywhere and the tourists feel scared and confused in such a scenario. They don't feel at ease and prefer to go to other locations," said Neel Pratap, a tourist guide.

Despite majority of the tourists aborting their tours, there are few who have trickled into Varanasi.

These are economy tourists who have been forced to undertake the trip as rules and regulations of certain airlines and hotels prevent them from getting a refund on canceling their tours.

"The tourists who have come here are the people who had made their bookings in advance due to the certain policies and rules of the airlines. Hotels cannot get a refund on cancellation of their reservations.

In such a case, these people are forced to undertake their tours. They are all economy tourists who have come here at their own risk, but so far no untoward incident has been reported, so we are quite hopeful," said Ronald Nadar, a travel assistant.

After the Mumbai terror attacks and the global recession, the general elections have emerged as new hurdle in the once booming tourism industry in the city.

Varanasi is a hot spot for foreigners visiting India. With its scenic riverbanks and plenty of religious sites, the holy town is quite popular with the tourists. Tourism is one of the major sources of revenue in the city.

ANI

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