Tribune News Service
Dharamsala, March 14
The middle of March generally marks the onset of the tourist season in Dharamsala. However, hotels and tourism industry here is dejected.
Sanjeev Gandhi, general secretary, Upper Dharamsala Hotel Association, while talking to The Tribune, said in March a lot of foreign tourists used to start pouring in the Dharamsala region. However, this year even the Dalai Lama teachings have failed to attract foreign tourists to Dharamsala.
While about 50 per cent of the hotels have lost their power and water connections and are closed, the rest are witnessing just 10 per cent occupancy. The fall in tourist inflow in Dharamsala region is a matter of serious concern for the hotel industry which is a major employment generator in the area.
Deepak Kumar, running a hotel booking agency, said that the upper areas of Dharamsala like Dharamkot and Upper Bhagsu used to be overflowing with tourists in the month of March. However, this year even these areas are also having very less tourists. A major reason for this is that the message has travelled among foreign and domestic tourists that most of the hotels in the region are closed. Due to it the tourists are avoiding Dharamsala region.
Interestingly, despite strict action taken by authorities against the illegal hotels in the region construction work was going on in some of the illegal hotels. Some of the hoteliers alleged that it was due to the people who are resorting to illegal constructions that the entire industry was suffering. They have also blamed the authorities for not taking action against such erring hoteliers in time.
In the recent past, members of the hotel association of Dharamsala had met Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur. They had requested the CM that the Dalai Lama should be asked to hold more teachings in the Dharamsala region and the state government should facilitate it as it can boost the tourism and provide employment to people of the region.
There was a demand that more events should be organized to attract the tourists. Earlier, a summer festival was organized in Dharamsala but during the stint of the previous Congress government the event was abandoned.
After representations from the hoteliers, the Himachal Cabinet had decided that instead of the entire hotels only the illegal portions of the buildings would be sealed. However, the Cabinet decision is not likely to bail out the hotel industry in Dharamsala as many of the hotels constructed in the core area of McLeodganj were totally illegal.
The state government has also announced that it would develop a vision policy for the development of various tourism zones in the state.
It was being said that the policy proposal would be sent to the union government for financing. However, the policy is likely to take a lot of time and before that the state would have to do something on its own to boost tourism and save the sector that provides direct and indirect employment to highest number of people in the state.
10 per cent occupancy
- While about 50 per cent of the hotels have lost their power and water connections and are closed, the rest are witnessing just 10 per cent occupancy.
- The fall in tourist inflow in Dharamsala region is a matter of serious concern for the hotel industry which is a major employment generator in the area.
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