India. Liquor ban may hit foreign tourists

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There is an apprehension of decline in the number of tourists, particularly foreigners, visiting Bihar after total prohibition in the state from Tuesday. Thousands of pilgrims and tourists visit places like Bodh Gaya, Nalanda, Rajgir and Vaishali every year.

Liquor would not be served even at the Asian countries monasteries in Bodh Gaya. More than two dozen such monasteries of Tibet, Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, South Korea and Myanmar are located in Bodh Gaya. Most of the hotels and guesthouses served beer in their restaurants.

“Foreign visitors usually carry their own brand of liquor/beer/wine. Now, it would be a stupendous task for us to persuade them to stay and visit more historical/tourist places in Bihar,” said a hotel agent at Rajgir, adding that they will prefer to stay at Varanasi or Kolkata.

There is also a great apprehension about police extorting money from people in the name of consuming liquor, feels a private guesthouse owner in Bodh Gaya.

The private guesthouse in the city residential areas also served liquor of the guest’s choice. A large number of people from NGOs and corporate world used to get their choice of drinks in these guesthouses, a manager of a guesthouse in S K Puri locality said.

“People may obtain liquor from even a hardware and automobile repair shop at a premium price,” said an erstwhile liquor shop vendor. “The decision to sell foreign made foreign liquor or wine or low-content alcohol like Breezer from state-run liquor shops in Bihar was only to lure high income group people or to attract visiting tourists on the pattern of Delhi or any other big cities. But now there is no scope for that also,” said an MNC executive.