Tibetan émigrés make noise, local businesses suffer – welcome to Dharamshala


The Chinese crackdown in Tibet and its fallback in Dharamsala has severely impacted the tourism business.

Over 20,000 Tibetan refugees are living in Dharamshala and tourism is the mainstay of its economy.

Pappi Kumar has been running a restaurant on lease for a year. He said that there has been no cancellations so far, but no new bookings either.

Pappi’s restaurant is on the outskirts of Dharamshala, a place that receives a lot of foreign tourists.

For the last 10 days, Dharamshala has seen many anti-China protests. Pappi fears things can get worse.

”The Tibetan people are striking and this is definitely having an effect, Macleodgunj town is the main point and the problem will increase even more,” said Pappi.

Dharmashala has over 20,000 Tibetan refugees. Most of them have shut their shops to protest against the violence in Tibet.

Another tourist from Israel, Maya, is visiting Dharamshala with friends after five years. She said, it doesn’t look the same place.

”Last time protesting was less than this time, but this time may be because of China Olympics and it’s more obvious,” said Maya.

Local businessmen say the protests are affecting business worth thousands of dollars.

”Anything concerning Dalai Lama and other Tibetans which are living in India makes a definite impact on tourism,” said Prem Sagar, tour operator.

The unrest in Tibet has already caused a setback to the tourism sector and most people are worried that if the unrest continues then the losses might be even more.