Farm tourism picks up in Punjab as Covid cases record sharp decline

Express News Service

CHANDIGARH:  Farm tourism in Punjab has picked up as tourists are opting to stay at farmhouses to experience the authentic culture, colours and flavours of the state. As per information available with the Punjab tourism department, 5,000 domestic and 400 international tourists have stayed at various farmhouses since April this year. The total tourist count for the same period in 2020-21 was 5,500. 

However, the figures stand nowhere in contrast with pre-Covid months of 2019-20 when the total tourist arrival was 13,600 (12,000 domestic and 1,600 foreigners). The state has no dearth of such getaways — there are 43 of them registered with the state tourism and culture department.

These range from places known for bee farming to the ones rich in citrus fruit cultivation. Dairy farms add to the bucolic setting where tractor-driving farmers bring home-cooked food. The tourists also get exposure to the local community life-style in events such as marriages and local melas. 

Sanjay Kumar, special chief secretary (tourism & culture), says since the tourism sector, especially the hotel industry, suffered the most, the department started a campaign inviting tourists to come to the state by road. “Farm tourism thus picked up much more than the usual tourist circuits,” he said. “This has prompted us to go for online registration of farmhouses,” he added.

Vikram Sigh Sodhi, owner of a farmhouse near Anandpur Sahib, says decline in Covid cases has led to more tourists coming to Punjab. “To cater to rising weekend arrivals, we have added 20 cottages to the list of farmhouses,” he said.