As the Lok Sabha elections are over, it is boom time for the tourism industry in Himachal Pradesh that had turned sluggish in the run-up to the polls. Post-elections, there has been a sudden jump in tourist arrivals at the key destinations in the hill state.
The long election season had proved to be a dampener for the state's tourism industry. The elections had finished early in many other states that contribute largely to the tourism sector but the elections in Himachal Pradesh, held in the second last phase, had hampered the arrival of the holiday makers.
Not only the arrival of domestic tourists but also that of the foreign tourists had declined in the run-up to the elections.
Besides elections, the erratic weather conditions that resulted in untimely rains and drop in daytime temperature too had impacted the tourism industry that usually starts witnessing visitors' rush from the first week of May.
Howver, weather conditions have improved over the past ten days. Day time temperature in Shimla has gone up to 24 degrees Celsius while the minimum temperature is recorded at 17.6 degrees.
Occupancy in the hotels in the capital town of Shimla and its surroundings has gone up during the past one week. There is a heavy rush of tourists on the Mall road during the evening hours while the tourist inflow has increased at Kufri and Narkanda.
"Though the tourist rush had begun to increase after May 7, inflow rose up tremendously after the election results came on May 16. There is almost 80% occupancy in Shimla town these days", Harman Kukreja, president of Shimla Hoteliers and Restaurateurs Association, told Hindustan Times.
Sweltering heat in the plains is also driving the tourists to different destinations in the hills. There is a heavy rush of holiday makers in the tourist town of Manali.
"There has been a sharp increase in tourist inflow in Manali. Prior to the conclusion of the Lok Sabha polls, hotels in Manali recorded 50% occupancy while post-elections, it has increased to 80%", said Anup Thakur, president of Manali Hoteliers and Restaurateurs Association.
Tour and travel agent Gagan Pal said that tourist influx has increased in Shimla and Manali. As elections are over, tourists footfall has increased. "During the elections in the plains, tourism business was dull but it picked up after the end of elections", he said.
"In fact tourists started coming to Himachal Pradesh after the election ended in the state on May 7", he added.
"Weather is good in Shimla. I have suggested my friends to visit this town", said Kavita Mathur, a tourist from Delhi.
Meanwhile, tourists visiting Shimla are complaining about their "fleecing" at the car parking lots by the contractors in the capital town.