Shimla, July 21
Even as Himachal has recorded the highest ever number of 1.06 crore tourists in the first six months this year, the tourism industry is likely to take a severe beating following the unprecedented rains and flashfloods.
What is interesting is the fact that the tourist arrivals up to June 30 surpassed all previous records. Even last year, when tourism activities resumed after disruptions caused by the pandemic, only 86.42 lakh tourists arrived in the state until June 30.
As per the data shared by the Tourism Department, 28,219 foreign and 99,78,504 domestic tourists visited various locations like Kullu-Manali, Shimla, Kangra-Dharamsala, Kasauli, Dalhousie and the tribal districts of Kinnaur and Lahaul-Spiti in the first six months this year. The figure is almost 15 lakh more than last year’s numbers of 7,032 foreign and 86,35,358 domestic tourists.
However, with torrential rains causing immense damage to roads, bridges and other infrastructure this month, it could take a while before tourists head for the state in large numbers. The battered roads and bridges, which could take some time to be restorated, have put a question mark on road connectivity as it’s the main mode of transportation across the state.
“We were hopeful of having record arrivals this year, but the rains have dealt a severe blow and the possibility of surpassing previous records have diminished,” remarked Amit Kashyap, Director, Tourism and Civil Aviation.
The hotel industry is already demanding waivers in taxes and concessions in order to cope with the beating that the tourism sector is expected to take.
Though the rainy season causes a lull in tourism, the horrifying images of floods and rains could scare tourists away even after it is over. Moreover, the reconstruction and restoration of national highways and roads could take longer than anticipated.
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