The arrival of tourist season has finally been heralded in the state of Himanchal Pradesh as the hotels in the much visited tourist spots are now jam packed. With traffic jams becoming a common sight in the Dharamsala McLeodganj route, there have been incidents of walk in tourists having to return back from McLeodganj due to the unavailability of rooms.
According to Prem Sood, a hotelier in McLeodganj , the tourist season picked up after the start of holidays in the schools of the plains, in the past few days. The entire month of June is seeing full bookings of most hotels, a happy news for the hospitality industry which is a major source of revenue for the state.
The peak season seems to have arrived late this year according to most hoteliers as they recount the peak season in past years to have started much earlier from the month of April itself, whereas business for the tourism industry at McLeodganj this year remained quite lean in April and the first week of May this time around.
As per reports, the return of normalcy in Kashmir has hit the tourism industry of Himanchal Pradesh, as according to the hoteliers and tour operators of the area; Kashmir is now being preferred by domestic and international tourists alike over Himanchal.
The tour operators have voiced their concerns about the lack of efforts on the part of both the Tourism Department and private hoteliers to try to market Dharamsala and its surrounding areas to tourists, noting that there has been an increase in tourists planning out their tours instead of walking in to tourist places and then looking for accommodation.
Over the years new hotels have come up in areas surrounding Dharamsala besides that of McLeodganj, however a common tourist has no knowledge of these areas. The operators feel that if a website could be created which would contain informative details of all these areas and the hotel choices affronted to them, tourists can make a choice easily from the available information and thus generate more revenue for them.
Hoteliers of the state feel that that the Himanchal government should start taking measures to try to sell the attractive holiday destinations to tourists, as the improvement in Kashmir's political environment has affected the state's tourism industry adversely. The need to market the tourist spots to national and international tourists should be on the priority list according to them. The tour operators have also reported a decline due to the economic crises in the various countries of the European Union, on the influx of European tourists in the state.