Himachal wants decision to suspend flights reviewed

November 21st, 2008 - 7:00 pm ICT by IANS  

Shimla, Nov 21 (IANS) Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal Friday asked the central government to review its decision to suspend flights of state-owned carrier Air India to the hill state, an official statement said. Air India authorities have decided to suspend the lone flight between Delhi and Kullu from Nov 22. The flight operates twice a week.

“The decision to suspend the flights would hit the tourism industry of the state,” Dhumal said.

The flight was launched March 19 this year when the new terminal building was inaugurated at Bhuntar near Kullu by Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel.

However, Air India authorities have clarified that the flights would be resumed when there is a rush of tourists.

Himachal’s Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) tourism cell in-charge Ajit Butail said the decision of Air India would definitely hit the tourism industry.

“This year there is a drop in the arrival of tourists in the state due to untimely monsoon and prolonged Gujjar agitation. Now the suspension of flights would discourage the high-end tourists from visiting the popular tourist resort Manali,” he added.

Tourism is an important contributor to Himachal’s economic development. Last year, over 8.8 million tourists, including 339,000 foreigners, visited the state.

Kullu-Manali has emerged as a favourite tourist destination among tourists. Last year, around 100,000 foreign tourists visited that area.

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