COVID-19 Lockdown: Tourism takes a hit in Meghalaya

Mawkdok Dympep Valley Viewpoint, one of the prominent tourist spots, is now a lonely place with no activities.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect prominent tourist spots in Meghalaya and the livelihood of the people.

One such place is the famous Mawkdok Dympep Valley Viewpoint, which in normal times draws thousands of tourists from across the country and abroad every year, especially during the monsoon seasons.

But with all the travelling restrictions and people around the world staying home to help stem the spread of COVID-19, the Mawkdok Dympep Valley Viewpoint, located 30 kms from Shillong on the way to Sohra, is now a lonely place with no activities.

This has really affected the livelihood of the people of Dympep village with over 70 households who run their businesses at this viewpoint and are directly dependent on the tourists that come there.

“COVID-19 has turned everything upside down and with no more tourist activities, all the shops and stalls here have been shut down and the residents of Dympep are suffering,” Sordar of Dympep, Hamsing Nongkhlaw said on Tuesday.

He said that many locals from the village also earn their livelihood by selling corn and fruits to the tourists at the viewpoint but now their livelihood has shattered.

Informing that there are about 20 shops/stalls at the spot, he said, “Before the COVID-19 crisis, the village generates revenue just from the parking fees collected from vehicles that come to the viewpoint and likewise revenue from the stalls and shops but now it is zero income.”

Stating that in normal times especially during the weekends there are not less than 1,000 tourists in the area who come to witness the splendid panoramic view of the valley from the viewpoint, Nongkhlaw further expressed dismay that the village has also spent about Rs 4-5 lakhs to construct stairs leading down to the Weiboit waterfall which was completed last year to attract more tourists.

“We cannot say when things will return to normal but Covid-19 has hit the tourism sector hard and it is very uncertain when things will pick up again,” he said adding that the villagers in the area are now just cultivating potatoes and seasonal vegetables and selling them wherever the market places have been set up like in Mawkdok, Sohra , etc.

 

First Published:June 10, 2020, 1:19 p.m.

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