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Tourist guides struggle to make ends meet as pandemic hits sector hardest

Faheem Khan, a government-registered tourist guide, familiarised foreign tourists to Delhi at Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)-protected monuments in the city until March last year when the Covid-19 pandemic prompted a nationwide lockdown. As someone who largely guided foreign tourists, Khan could not fully resume work even after lockdown restrictions were eased. The surge in Covid-19 cases this summer worsened the situation of guides such as Khan. They say they do not expect the situation to get better as foreign tourists were unlikely to return anytime sooner. “International flights were stopped… Since then, our work has halted,” said Khan, a Persian language expert with a doctorate from Jawaharlal Nehru University.

Financial distress

With all his savings drying up and no source of income, Khan returned home in Bihar last month and took up farming for survival. “There are zero work opportunities for people like me who were dependent on international tourism. We are…

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