Tourism plays a vital role in the economy of Ladakh. Recently, the newly formed UT’s economy has been continuously declining and it is working hard to prevent that from happening.
Major reasons behind the degradation of its economy are the current stand-off of the India Army and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and Covid-19 pandemic. Ladakh earns people’s attention because of its culture, heritage and spirituality rich region. Generally, March to August is a tourist-heavy period for the UT but this year, the region witnessed complete silence because of the Coronavirus.
Kunzang Dorjey, who owns a travel agency in Leh, told the Economic Times that as far as this year is concerned, nothing much is gained. Tourism has not been untouched in a negative way by the Covid crisis. Most people in Ladakh depend on the tourism sector for earning their livelihood. Travel agents, cab drivers, tour agents; all have been affected badly by the lockdown. Adding to that, many people earning through the hospitality sector suffered a major loss of revenues.
Even though the UT went through a slowdown, it is now expecting the revival in tourists during the winter period. The Ladakh tourist industry is expecting to host a significant amount of visitors more so because many events like Festival of Lohsa (Ladakhi new year), Chadar trek, Snow leopard spotting trek and adventure sports are lining up.
Ladakh Mountains Guides Association (LMGA) and All Ladakh Tour Operator Association, jointly, surveyed new treks. Some new trekking routes like ‘Nay Hunder Dok Trek’, ‘Mangu to Chilling via Sumdochenmo’ and ‘Upper Markha Valley trek’ have recently been approved. Rigzin Tsweng, Technical Chief, LMGA and Head of Sports Society, Nubra Valley said that a proposal to conduct an ice-climbing festival in the starting of next has been sent to the tourism department. Trek-climbing, ice- climbing and rock-climbing are parts of adventure tourism.
The administration is also planning to organize a major festival during the winters and broadcast it online. It has been estimated that crores of rupees has been lost in tourism this year. Upcoming winter season is a ray of hope for the Ladakh tourism industry.