Solan, September 22
Chail has witnessed a mass cancellation of hotel bookings after an additional levy of Rs 5,000 per day was recently imposed on taxis, buses, etc, entering Himachal Pradesh from other states, including those carrying All India Tourist Vehicles permits.
The fact that tourists entering Himachal in taxis or on tourist buses have to bear the additional levy has triggered a mass cancellation of bookings.
Taxi operators from Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh had staged a protest against the levy at the inter-state border at Parwanoo a few days ago.
“Taxi operators in other states are now guiding tourists to opt for (a tour to) Uttrakhand instead. This is a big loss for tourism in the state,” noted Chail Hoteliers Association president Devinder Verma.
“A refund of Rs 44,000 has been made on three advance bookings cancelled this week,” rued Verma, who runs Hotel Ekant. Prior to that, another refund of Rs 51,505 was made to a customer who had booked the hotel the week before.
Verma complained, “We were looking forward to welcoming tourists after a lean season, but we have been left making refunds every day. The imposition of (a levy of) Rs 5,000 per day on a tourist vehicle is detrimental to the tourism industry.”
The Chail Hoteliers Association has called for a rollback of the tax, asserting that it has left the industry crippled.
Uday Bir, another hotelier, said, “There has been a very lean tourist season since the first week of July this year as torrential rains had caused colossal loss to the roads. With the (road) connectivity snapped, Chail has been among the worst-hit tourist destinations.”
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