New Delhi: The importance of mega-events, that include sporting fixtures cannot be ignored in a burgeoning hill economy like Himachal Pradesh's Dharamsala.
The shifting of India-Pakistan match of the 2016 ICC World Twenty20 from the picturesque Himachal Pradesh hill town to a metropolis, in Kolkata comes with a economic fall-out.
Politics and nationalism besides, the cancelled fixture comes with economic repercussions. And rightly, the shifting of the match – which was expected to draw thousands of spectators from nearby cities, especially Delhi – has come as a shock to the business community of Dharamsala.
Yes, the debate is still on the right and wrong of holding Pakistan, but the business in this town is set to lose crores of rupees, with hoteliers and restaurant owners being the worst affected of the lot.
According to a report in the Times of India, hoteliers, restaurant owners, and tour and travel operators, who were eagerly waiting for nearly 20,000 tourists to come to Dharamsala during the match, are in for massive monetary losses.
There are nearly 800 hotels and about 120 restaurants in Dharamsala and its surrounding areas. The shift means many rooms in those hotels, which were booked in advance, will now be cancelled and will result in a lot of financial loss to the hoteliers.
“There will be huge losses in all sectors of tourism. About 4000 rooms were booked in advance for the India-Pakistan match. Now they will be cancelled. Other than that, taxi services, catering, laundry, tour and travel operators... all will be affected badly . This is a loss in the tune of crores,“ Onkar Singh Nehria, the president of hoteliers association in Dharamshala, told TOI.
“These months are off season for us and the World Cup match was our only hope to earn money . But the fight between BJP and Congress has ruined that opportunity for us.” he added.
On Wednesday, the International Cricket Council (ICC) accepted a request from Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and moved the March 19 match at Kolkata's Eden Gardens.
It's worth noting that, the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh Virbhadra Singh had expressed concerns over security for the India-Pakistan match in Dharamsala, with many organisations objecting and threatening to hold the match.