A pall of gloom has descended on travel and tourism stakeholders in Rajasthan with the state Tourism Department indicating the world-famous Pushkar Fair is headed for cancellation this year in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Pushkar Fair is one of the world's largest cattle fairs. The nine-day event, which witnesses trading of thousands of camels and horses, was scheduled to start from November 22, but there is no official word yet whether it will be held or not.

A senior Tourism Department official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told IANS that although there is no confirmation yet about the event's fate, it seems certain that it won't take place as per the advisory issued by the Home Department.

"The advisory limits the gathering of people to 100 in any event being organised in the state," said the official, adding: "There will be a challenge to limit the number of people coming in from different villages if the fair is organised and hence it is difficult to give the go ahead to the event."

"We have asked the Animal Husbandry Department to call a meeting so that official information on the fair can be disseminated," he said.

Meanwhile, stakeholders, in view of the silence of tourism officials on Pushkar Fair, have started discussing its impact on tourism as well as on the rural economy as the event was a big source of business for locals as well as the tourism industry.

Sanjay Kaushik, a tour operator, said: "Pushkar Fair is one of the largest cattle fairs in the world. Apart from the buying and selling of livestock, it has emerged as an important tourist attraction where villagers from across the state come to set their stalls, sell and buy cattle and make money. Competitions such as the 'matka phod', 'longest moustache' and 'bridal competition' are the main draws for this fair which have been attracting thousands of tourists."

"Sadly, this year shall not be the same for them. Even the tourism shall suffer for this event earned annual livelihood for many stakeholders," he added.

-IANS

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