Tourists spotted without masks at the Ridge in Shimla. The number of visitors has gone up since the Covid curbs were eased on June 14. (Deepak Sansta/HT)
Tourists spotted without masks at the Ridge in Shimla. The number of visitors has gone up since the Covid curbs were eased on June 14. (Deepak Sansta/HT)

Tourism back with a bang in Himachal

With Covid curbs lifted since June 14, tourists head uphill to Shimla, Manali, McLeodganj, Dalhousie, Khajjiar, Chail and Kasauli
PUBLISHED ON JUN 29, 2021 01:10 PM IST

With Covid-19 restrictions being lifted in Himachal Pradesh since June 14, the state’s tourism and hospitality industry is finally back on track.

The state cabinet decided to do away with the condition for an e-pass for entering the state on June 23. Ever since, the influx of tourists has grown by the day, particularly during the weekend.

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Hotels in Shimla were packed to capacity last weekend and tourists had to spend the night in their vehicles, while others went up further to Mashobra and Kufri to find accommodation. More than 22,000 vehicles of tourists had entered Shimla and adjoining areas over the weekend.

“The hotel occupancy in Shimla was 100% on Saturday (June 26) and more than 60% on Sunday (June 27). This is a good sign for the industry that had been reeling under the impact of the pandemic,” said Gopal Aggarwal, the chief adviser of the Tourism Industry Stakeholders’ Association.

A huge influx of tourists was witnessed in Manali, McLeodganj, Dalhousie, Khajjiar, Chail and Kasauli. The buzz also returned to Triund, the popular trekkers’ destination overlooking Dharamshala town, where more than 1,000 people reached during the weekend.

All roads lead to hill state

According to data released by the state police, since June 14 when the Covid curfew was lifted, a total of 2.57 lakh vehicles entered the state. Of these, 1.31 lakh vehicles entered between June 13 and 20 and 1.26 lakh between June 21 and 27. That adds up to an average of 18,370 vehicles a day.

Authorities on the guard

The heavy influx of tourists has left the authorities concerned as many were found not adhering to the Covid-19 safety protocol of wearing masks and maintaining social distancing.

According to the police, 3,620 challans were issued for mask violation during this period and a fine of 20.05 lakh was realised. Besides, 17,000 was realised for violation of the Motor Vehicles Act, while 3,500 was recovered for driving without a mask.

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