Fresh snowfall lures tourists to HimachalApril 23rd, 2010 - 2:44 pm ICT by IANS
Shimla, April 23 (IANS) The sweeping heat wave across north India has once again driven tourists to various popular destinations in Himachal Pradesh to seek refuge in the cooler climes of the hills especially after a recent spell of snow.
According to tourism industry representatives here, after the recent rainfall and snow in various parts of the state, there has been a sudden surge of tourists.
“These days there has been a sudden increase in the arrival of tourists in almost all the popular destinations. This is mainly due to the receding heat wave in the hills,” general manager Yogesh Behl of the Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (HPTDC) told IANS.
He said the first two weekends this month were quite bad as the arrival of tourists dropped suddenly due to the unusually warm weather in the hills.
“This weekend around 50,000 tourists are expected to reach most of the tourist spots in the state,” he said.
Shimla’s meteorological director Manmohan Singh said that popular tourist destinations Shimla, Narkanda, Kufri, Kasauli, Dharamsala, McLeodganj, Sangla, Manali, Chamba and Dalhousie have been experiencing pleasant weather these days.
“The entire state witnessed fresh snowfall and rain in the past few days, bringing down the mercury by five to six notches. The high hills in Lahaul and Spiti, Kinnaur and Kullu districts had good spells of snow,” he said.
He said the mid and high hills would witness more rain and snow Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
Rajeshwar Goel, District Tourism Development Officer at Manali, said: “Most of the hotels in Manali are packed to capacity this weekend. Around 20,000 tourists are expected to reach the town Saturday and Sunday.”
“Manali is always a centre of attraction for tourists due to its proximity to the snowbound Rohtang Pass. Most of the tourists visiting Manali prefer to witness snow. It (Rohtang Pass) is the only place in the state where tourists can witness snow round the year,” he added.
Sammir Sharma, a tourist from Mumbai, said: “It’s really marvellous to witness snow. We enjoyed hurling snowballs at each other.”
On an average, about 20,000 tourists arrive here on a single day during the peak tourist season.
“We have 80 percent occupancy in hotels these days which is expected to touch more than 90 percent in the weeks to come,” said Tek Chand Thakur, president of the Manali Hoteliers Association.
Manali and its nearby areas have over 450 hotels and guest houses. Manali attracts thousands of backpackers from abroad, especially Israelis, every year.
According to the Met office, the minimum temperature in Kinnaur, Lahaul and Spiti is still close to sub-zero.
Keylong, the headquarters of Lahaul and Spiti district, recorded a minimum temperature of 2.3 degrees Celsius Thursday, while Kalpa in Kinnaur district was 1.7 degrees. The maximum temperature recorded was 13 degrees Celsius and 16 degrees, respectively.
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