Dry lakes spell doom for Udaipur's tourism industry

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Udaipur (Rajasthan), July 9 (ANI): Tourist arrival in India's 'City of Lakes'-Udaipur-have declined following reports of lakes drying up.

The city's five lakes-Udai Sagar Lake, Lake Pichola, Rajsamand Lake, Fateh Sagar Lake, and Jaisamand Lake-are all rain-fed. They are normally water-filled, but this year's dry season has taken its toll.

The prevailing situation has affected the tourism industry.

The city welcomes nearly 700,000 domestic and foreign tourists each year, but this year Udaipur bears a deserted look.

Almost 40 percent of the total population is directly or indirectly associated with tourism. Small shopkeepers, jewellery and handbag vendors, tourist guides, porters, camel owners, taxi operators, hotel owners are all facing the crunch.

"If the Rain Gods are not kind to Udaipur, this year there is going to be no tourism in the city this year, the revenue earned by the state government will be badly affected. The number of tourists at present is almost negligible. Businesses of all kinds have been affected," claimed Manish Gilundiya, president, Hotel Association, Udaipur.

Small shop owners fear that their shops might close down if the tourist inflow does not increase.

"There were no rains this year, the lakes have dried. Our business is affected. If it stays like this we will suffer," said.

Many businessmen are finding it difficult to even pay their employees.

"Udaipur has been famous as the city of lakes. But as the lakes have dried up, there are no tourists and our handicraft business is badly affected. We are having trouble paying our staff," said Subhash Gupta, handicraft businessman.

Apart from regular tourists, Udaipur has fascinated various international celebrities, including pop princess Madonna and actress Nicole Kidman.

The city's palaces have been venues for various high profile weddings as well. by Vinod Molpariya(ANI)

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