Planned weekend trips to hill stations were a regular part of Delhi-bred Karan Gupta’s childhood. While his love for the mountains has grown, the senior sales executive with a software firm prefers new, less explored hill stations. The switch in taste for hilly destinations is widespread, shows data.
Almora in Uttarakhand, Kurseong near Darjeeling, Arunachal’s Ziro Valley and Spiti Valley in Himachal Pradesh, for instance, have been seeing a rise in the number of tourists. While Kurseong and Ziro recorded 100% growth year-on-year growth between 2015 and 2016, Almora’s tourists graph saw a surge of 326%, according to the data from travel company HolidayIQ.
The data was based on website traffic and hotel bookings made through the portal, said its founder and chief executive officer Hari Nair.
“With a rise in weekend breaks, people from metros pick hill stations at a driving distance (200-225km) from their homes,” said Nair. He said young travelers look at unique experience. “Earlier, the idea of a hill station holiday was British. You check into a place, have a drink and relax. But now people want to take short walks and eat local food.”
Another travel portal, too, saw the change in Indian tourists’ profiles. “The Internet has made Indian travellers inquisitive about the unexplored. So people pack their bags and look for destinations beyond the usual,” said Sharat Dhall, president with travel portal Yatra.com, adding Spiti, Almora, Matheran, Munnar were popular, among residents of metro cities. “Places in the northeast like the rolling hills of Mizoram and plunging waterfalls of Cherapunji are getting visitors.”
The Holiday IQ data said while Uttarakhand and Delhi together accounted for 45% tourists to new mountain destinations, Maharashtra was a close third, with 15% tourists from the state.
“When you stay in a noisy metro, holiday means a place there’s barely any noise,” said 35-year-old Gupta.