KULLU, JULY 5
After almost 15 months, Manali is again abuzz with tourists thronging Solang Nullah, Vashisht and the latest attraction, the Rohtang tunnel. Hoteliers are happy as most properties are registering high occupancy. The beneficiaries of the tourism industry are elated. Generally, the tourist footfall starts receding from July but this year, the tourist destination is still witnessing an increase in the numbers of visitors.
Though the influx continues through the week with the mercury rising in the plains, the tourist rush is highest on weekends. The revellers are also rushing to the hill station to seek relief from boredom due to Covid crisis. Lahaul and Spiti SP Manav Verma said 65,028 vehicles entered the Lahaul valley through the Rohtang tunnel in June.
Within a fortnight, after June 14, when the state government announced Covid relaxations, as many as 23,900 outside vehicles paid the green tax charged by the Tourism Development Council, Kullu. This tax is not applicable to vehicles registered in Himachal.
Tourists from Delhi, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh, who are flocking to Manali, are indulging in adventure activities like paragliding, rock climbing, trekking and river rafting in the Beas.
A large numbers of tourists are arriving in Manali en route to Leh, which, too, is contributing to reviving the tourism industry. The taxi owners are also relieved.
Anup Ram Thakur, president, Manali Hoteliers Association, said tourist footfall was increasing and many closed hospitality units were resuming operations. According to hoteliers, over 5,000 tourist vehicles are entering the hill town on weekends. The staff engaged in hospitality units also heaved a sigh of relief upon being recalled.
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