The Himachal tourism industry, particularly in the Kullu-Manali circuit, is feeling the heat of inadequate snowfall during this winter season. Hotel occupancy has stayed 30-40% in the last two months, while it was close to 90% in the corresponding period last year.
Jaswant Singh, a hotelier in Manali, said, “This winter season since December, we are facing a very bad period due to the decline in tourist arrival. It is the snowfall that attracts people to the hills in winter.” He added that it had become difficult to meet expenditures.
Most hoteliers said that while February was now coming to an end, major snow points such as like Solang Valley are lacking snow. It is the valley that is the epicentre of tourist interest in the winter as the summer attraction of Rohtang Pass is closed for traffic.
“We are completely dismayed with the change of nature this time. It seems the majority of tourists this time diverted to Jammu and Kashmir,” said another hotelier, Sanjeev Kumar.
Talking to HT, Himachal Pradesh Tourism Corporation marketing incharge for Kullu-Manali, Chhavi Thakur said, “Since January, we have observed a sharp decline in hotel room occupancy as compared to previous years, because during enquiries the tourist first ask about snowfall; no now meant they cancelled their trip.”
“Last year we had 90% occupancy during January and February because of timely and adequate snowfall in the region, even right after seven days’ outage of electricity because of heavy snowfall.”