Pitfalls for tourists: HP must warn visitors of deadly spots - The Tribune India

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Pitfalls for tourists

HP must warn visitors of deadly spots

Pitfalls for tourists

Photo for representation. File photo



THE story of two young tourists who ended up dead in the freezing cold at a height of 9,000 ft in Kangra’s Bir Billing is heart-wrenching. It was the pet dog of one of the tourists who fended off wild animals and guarded the bodies for two days before the cops arrived, alerted by its continuous barking. The unfortunate case should jolt the authorities into reviewing the implementation of tourist safety regulations in Himachal Pradesh.

Attacks by wild bears and leopards are not unheard of in the state. Even as vacationers are advised to take all precautions and not venture out alone in secluded hills or forests surrounded by cavernous gorges, the authorities need to improve measures to enhance the safety of the holidaymakers, including putting up warning boards, and raise awareness about the dangers of throwing caution to the wind. The tourism industry must pull out all the stops to ensure that hoteliers, travel agents and organisers of adventure activities do not compromise on the stringent norms.

Any lapse is particularly hazardous during the winter season, when the tourist footfall surges and the possibility of accidents rises amid lax enforcement of the guidelines. Prima facie, that seems to have happened in the Bir Billing case as the two friends — one from Pathankot and the other from Pune — fell off a snow-clad slope into a deep ravine. Tourism is a significant contributor to the state’s economy. The government has decided to spend Rs 2,500 crore, with Asian Development Bank’s aid, to develop the sector. A fair proportion of the funds must be earmarked to ensure that foolproof safety provisions are in place.

#Kangra


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