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Posted at: Dec 25, 2018, 12:18 AM; last updated: Dec 25, 2018, 12:18 AM (IST)

Shimla braces for X-mas tourist rush

Hotel occupancy reaches 80% | Parking lots packed to capacity | Restricted roads opened
Shimla braces for X-mas tourist rush
Tourists enjoy on the Christmas eve in Shimla on Monday. Photo: Amit Kanwar

Kuldeep Chauhan

Tribune news service

Shimla, December 24

The Met Department’s forecast of no white Christmas and dry weather in the Queen of Hills this year has failed to dampen the spirits of excited holidaymakers from the northern region of Chandigarh, Punjab, Haryana and Delhi.

In the wake of long weekend and with Christmas falling on Tuesday, the capital city is witnessing a huge rush. President of the Shimla Hoteliers and Restaurants Association Sanjay Sood said city hotels were packed to capacity and bookings had also been made for New Year’s eve.

Guests were being advised to park their vehicles at the designated parking lots on the Cart Road, Chhota Shimla, Sanjauli, the ISBT, and roads opened by the District Collector to cater to the rush. Deputy Commissioner Amit Kashyap said the city had been divided into seven sectors, with each being monitored by a nodal officer to ensure law and order.

There is no mechanism to count the tourist footfall in the city. However, hotel occupancy in the city, including at Kufri, Fagu and Narkanda, is nearly 80 per cent, said Deputy Director, Tourism, Surender Justa.

He said the department had deployed its inspectors to check overcharging from tourists. So far, no complaint had been received as most bookings were made online.

He said the hoteliers had been directed to display tariff cards at the reception. They had been asked to put in place an emergency plan in case of snowfall.

Although the Railways is running special holiday trains, tourists are preferring private vehicles, resulting in massive jams on the Tara Devi-Cart Road and the Sanjauli-Kufri highway. Most of the parking lots in the city are packed to capacity.

Commuters had to face a harrowing time on Sunday due to the BJP rally at Solan. A massive traffic jam was witnessed on the Solan-Shimla highway. Vehicles were lined up on both sides of the highway.

One of the commuters said it took him 45 minutes to reach the Mall Road from the rally venue at the Police Lines ground.

Prakrit, a tourist from Chandigarh, said it took them seven hours to reach Shimla on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the Shimla Municipal Corporation has improved water supply pumping up to 45.21 MLD daily to meet the demand and cater to the rush of tourists.

Helpline number

  • Tourists can dial helpline number 1800 8333 010 in case of any problem.
  • The authorities have opened restricted roads for parking purpose on December 24, 25 and 31 to cater to the rush. 

City shivers at 1.8°C

Although it was sunny on Monday, most parts of the state still experienced intense cold weather. Shimla shivered at 1.8°C, the season’s lowest. The Met office forecast long sunny days with no snowfall on Christmas anywhere in the state. Most of the prominent tourist towns such as Shimla, Narkanda, Kufri, Dharamsala, Palampur, Manali and Dalhousie, located in mid-hills, have been witnessing sunny days, the weatherman said. IANS


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