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Rains, landslides in Himachal hit tourism

The number of domestic and foreign tourists has gone down by 50% in the last one week following reports of a closed highway.

india Updated: Aug 17, 2018 10:18 IST
Gaurav Bisht
Gaurav Bisht
Hindustan Times, Shimla
Landslides occurred in various parts of Himachal Pradesh in the last few days following heavy rainfall. (HT Photo)

Heavy rains that triggered landslides in different parts of Himachal Pradesh in the last few days dealt a huge blow to tourist inflow to the hill state, which did poor business this summer due to water shortage in the state capital.

The number of domestic and foreign tourists has gone down by 50% in the last one week following reports of a closed highway.

During the Independence Day week, Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (HPTDC)had offered discounts in all its hotels across the state. The corporation offered 20% discount on accommodation and 5% on food items. However, tourism hotels across the state registered only 50% occupancy.

“Continuous rainfall has impacted tourism during the peak season. We expected rush during the Independence Day week, but the occupancy was much below our expectation,”said Sarla Chopra , general manager, HPTDC.

The Shimla- Chandigarh national highway remained blocked for several hours on August 14 and 15 following landslides at several road widening sites and the traffic moved at a snail’s pace .

“It took us almost 12 hours to reach Shimla from Chandigarh,” said Priety, a resident of Shimla, Priety, who was on her way back from Chandigarh.

The traffic was diverted via several lateral roads linking Shimla-Kalka highway. Rains had also disrupted air and train services to Shimla.

“Summers have been bad for tourism this year. The water crisis that hit Shimla in May had also adversely impacted the tourism industry. Not only rains, messages about bad weather on social networking sites made tourists apprehensive about travelling to Shimla,” said Harman Kukreja, President of the Shimla Hotel and Restaurateur association.

“There were messages on social networking sites that appealed to tourists asking them not to visit the hill state,” said Suresh Dogra, who runs a travel agency on the Mall road.

In wake of heavy rainfall warning, the state government has declared holiday in private and government schools in almost ten districts. Monsoon will continue to be less active for the next three-four days.

“Light to moderate rainfall is likely at a few places over middle and lower hills and at isolated places over higher reaches of the state for three to four days,” said Manmohan Singh, director, Shimla meteorological office.

Heavy rains in the last three days also impacted water supply to Shimla town. Water supply was restored on Thursday in the town after four days.

Meanwhile, the Shimla-Kangra national highway remained closed for traffic at Galog, 26 kms from Shimla, due to a landslide. Traffic on the main by-pass connecting Dhalli to Tutti kandi also came to a halt after a massive landslide occurred at Malyana. The traffic is likely to be restored by Friday evening.

First Published: Aug 16, 2018 12:39 IST

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