Himachal hotels gearing up for weekend touristsJanuary 21st, 2009 - 4:48 pm ICT by IANS
Shimla, Jan 21 (IANS) The Himachal Pradesh hospitality industry is gearing up to welcome tourists during the extended weekend holiday bonanza commencing Jan 24.According to tourism industry representatives, information centres and hotels across the state are getting 30 to 45 enquiries daily, either for information on tourist places or for special weekend packages on offer. Apart from the weekend, Monday is a Republic Day holiday.
“Republic Day falls on Monday. So if you plan an off either Friday or Tuesday and combine the holiday with the weekend, you can practically party for four days without really allowing your work to suffer too much,” said D.P. Bhatia of Clarke’s Hotel.
Added Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corp general manager Yogesh Behl: “The extended weekend is a rare occasion in the tourism industry. The volume tourists mainly depends upon the sky. If the sky is overcast and chances of snow are good, then there will be 100 percent occupancy,” Behl said.
Thousands of tourists who had earlier visited Shimla and Manali to witness snowfall had to return disappointed despite cloudy skies.
The corporation’s hotels at Shimla, Manali and Dalhousie, apart from a host of other locations, are offering special discounts ranging from 10 to 30 percent on tariff.
Similarly, Manali’s Sarovar Portico - belonging to the Sarovar hotels and resorts chain - is offering a special discount of 15 percent.
Tek Chand Thakur, president of the Manali Hoteliers Association, said the arrival of tourists in Manali this month picked up after snowfall in neighbouring areas.
On an average, about 50,000 tourists arrive in Manali every day during the peak season. “If there is snow, then there will be good occupancy,” he said.
Like Shimla, Manali too had received the season’s first snowfall Jan 4, but it was scanty and melted within hours.
Manmohan Singh, director of the meteorological office here, said the western disturbances that brought snow and rain were likely to become active once again after Jan 24.
“There are chances of good snowfall in Shimla, Manali, Dalhousie and other tourist spots on and after January 24. If the sunny conditions persist, then the hills will experience warmer days and nights than cities in the north Indian plains,” he said.
The tourist spots of Kufri, Fagu and Narkanda near Shimla and the Solang valley and Kothi near Manali have already received good spells of snow this season.
According to the meteorological office, Shimla experienced 96 centimetres snowfall in January 2004 and 94 centimetres the same month in 2005, but 2006 and 2007 went snow-less.
In January 2008 there was just one centimetre of snow. This year too, Shimla has so far recorded just one to three centimetres of snow this month.
Himachal Pradesh, known for its delicious apples and picture-perfect tourist spots, attracts over eight million tourists every year.