Agra: The tourism industry in Agra is up in arms against the proposed hike in the entrance ticket rates to the iconic 17th-century monument of love, the Taj Mahal.
The Agra Development Authority has passed a resolution to effect a steep hike in ticket rates, a move that has been widely opposed by the hospitality industry which is already in the dumps due to the pandemic Covid-19 that forced the closure of the Taj for more than 180 days and suspension of international flights.
The proposal has been forwarded to Lucknow for the state government’s seal of approval. Indications are that the new rates will come into force from April 1.
The ADA plans to hike the ticket rate from Rs.50 to Rs.80 for domestic visitors and Rs.1100 to Rs.1300 for foreign tourists. This will be in addition to Rs.200 ticket for visiting the main mausoleum.
Rates for other monuments like Sikandra, Etmauddaula, Fatehpur Sikri will also be revised upwards.
Entry to children below 15 years is free.
From just 20 paise in 1966 the Taj entrance ticket rates have been periodically revised ten times.
According to an estimate, more than 60 per cent of foreign visitors to India come to Agra to see the Taj Mahal.
Before the pandemic close to seven million tourists annually visit the Taj Mahal.
Tourism industry leaders Prahlad Agarwal president of the Tourist Welfare Association, Rakesh Chauhan, president of the Agra Hotels and Restaurants Association, have opposed the hike in ticket rates. Sushil Gupta of Travel Bureau said this move could hit the industry hard.
Meanwhile, the three days Urs of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan began on Wednesday with a lot of fervour.