Hoteliers in Himachal Pradesh hope for recovery as tourists flock hill stations
On Sunday, according to the local data, a record number of 6400 vehicles crossed the Atal tunnel.
Thousands of tourists continue to flock to Himachal Pradesh as a heatwave has hit the plains and Covid-19 cases are dropping steadily in the country. Among the top tourist hotspots, Lahaul is attracting the maximum number of visitors due to the Atal Tunnel, which has made commuting to the scenic district easier. Kufri, Shimla, Narkanda, Dalhousie and Manali are also receiving large numbers of tourists from nearby states to escape the scorching heat.
On Sunday, according to the local data, a record number of 6400 vehicles crossed the tunnel. "This was the highest single-day and highest till date arrivals," saidManav Verma, the superintendent of police of Lahaul-Spiti, PTI reported. Verma also said that 2001 vehicles crossed the tunnel on Friday.
Occupancy in the hotels has also increased in the past few weeks. Shimla hotel and restaurant association president Sanjay Sood said the withdrawal of the condition of negative RTPCR report and e-Covid pass to enter Himachal Pradesh recently has given a boost to the tourism industry of the state, as per PTI report.
However, it is yet to reach its peak of the pre-Covid era. "The occupancy in the hotels remains between 60 and 90 per cent during weekends, while on other days it remains around 40-45 per cent," Mohinder Seth, president of Tourism Industry Stakeholder Association, was quoted as saying by PTI.
Budhi Prakash Thakur, a state convener of the forum of hotel and restaurant association, said, "The occupancy in hotels is dismal and figures hang around less than 25 per cent,” PTI reported.
In Manali, Chamba and Dalhousie as well, the situation is similar but hoteliers are relieved that at least the number is picking up gradually after the massive slump in April and May. They are hoping that as a few months are still left until the summer season, the number of visitors may rise further. If the condition continues to be the same, the tourist influx would further increase, said Manoj Chadha of the Federation of Hotels and Restaurants Association of Dalhousie.
The state is in the middle of the reopening process after almost two months of Covid-19 lockdown, imposed to curb the spread of Covid-19 cases. Earlier in June, it opened the state for travellers outside the state, since then endless rows of cars are being seen, bringing traffic to a standstill as people from the nearby states thronged Himachal.
It also one of the few states where one does not require to have an RT-PCR negative report to cross the border, making it easier for people to travel. However, a Covid e-pass is still mandatory for monitoring purposes.