Looking at the likely trend of people heading towards pilgrimages and hill stations after the strenuous time, the role of ropeways in the revival is crucial
by Aditya Chamaria, Managing Director, Damodar Ropeways and Infra Ltd. (DRIL)06 Jun 2021
The year 2020 took everyone by surprise. After being stuck at home for a significant part of the year, people slowly started to travel and move when the even worst second wave of COVID hit us. It would not be wrong to say that the travel, tourism and hospitality industry are amongst the worst ones to get the brunt of the pandemic. Just starting to open up earlier this year, the industry is brought to a halt again! However, the developments on the vaccination front have brought a ray of hope that soon the travel would start again.
Even if travel starts, people would look for options that could provide them a leisurely time with safety also being a concern. The demand for hygiene and social distancing is likely to prevail for a longer time than expected. Apart from scouting for staying options that are hygienic, the travellers would also adopt safer commutation means. Looking at the likely trend of people heading towards pilgrimages and hill stations after the strenuous time, the role of ropeways in the revival is crucial. The fact is that most ropeway sites in India are at tourist destinations and lead to either hill tops or different holy places; this would be an excellent opportunity for the tourism industry to revive and thrive again.
A staple mode of transportation, mostly found in the high altitude regions of India, aerial ropeways provide an easy and reliable transportation mode. While attracting tourists, it is also a useful mode of transport, especially for shorter distances. From making inaccessible places accessible to providing the most scenic views, ropeways have always been a favourable mode of transportation and a tourist attraction in different parts of the country and the world.
The ropeways are the safe mode of transportation as it ensures social distancing. In usual cases, when people are walking uphill, they hold sticks, touch rails, and come in physical contact with each other, which can be risky in the immediate aftermath of corona waves. However, it would be easier to ensure that ropeway users travel with utmost safety, such as mandatory face masks and gloves, sanitisation multiple times during the day and ensuring that people follow all other pandemic protocols until everything comes back to normal.
The ropeway industry would be the best option to ensure that the safety protocols followed in hotels and other places should not end once the tourists leave the hotel premises. At DRIL, we have taken conscious steps like reduction in the number of trips due to increased time taken for sanitisation between multiple trips and also reduced passengers in each cable car to ensure proper social distancing. Every state has different protocols, strict adherence to these protocols or the necessary steps in the wake of the pandemic will instil a sense of satisfaction amongst the travellers.
Enhanced safety protocols might slow the process. However, we all have to work towards making it possible to ensure that the world should not come to a halt. In our bid to keep the economic cycle going, we should not indulge in activities that could strengthen the deadly hold of the virus. The travellers, too, have to set itineraries keeping in mind that leisure should not mean compromising on safety.
In future, more ropeways should come up at sites with tourism potential that are less explored due to the lack of connectivity and transportation. The tourism industry will flourish in these places once ropeway infrastructure comes in place; this will lead to the economic growth of these places that have been out of bound for centuries.
At many places, ropeways tend to become one of the mainstays of tourism, such as Pushkar, Maihar, Chitrakut, Vaishnu Devi etc. Ropeways also help in facilitating tourism by making the commutation easy as well as generating a source of income for locals. For instance, the main temple at Hanuman Dhara was accessible by walking hundreds of steps. Before the ropeway by DRIL was constructed there, not many pilgrims used to climb uphill, instead used to do their darshan at a smaller temple which was much below the hill and drive on. After the construction of the ropeway, many pilgrims now plan a longer trip and experience the ropeway ride to and from the Hanuman Dhara temple to do the darshan. The whole trip takes less than half an hour and is super convenient.
Along with giving a boost to the tourism at Hanuman Dhara, the construction of the ropeway has also resulted in an increase in the number of shops and vendors selling various items for puja like flowers, prashad, garlands and other related items. Our Ropeway at Guwahati across the mighty Bhramaputra is another example of bringing the entire city closer and made tourism spots more accessible and added a must do activity while in Guwahati.
Getting back to normal would take some time, but everyone has to take little steps to curb the situation for the better.