lakhs reach Himachal hill stations

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In order to seek some respite from the scorching heat of the plains, tourists have started visiting Himachal Pradesh and other hill stations in large numbers. According to the state’s Tourism Department, Himachal Pradesh has hosted over 72 lakh tourists just between January and May.
Despite the sudden increase in traffic in the region- as most tourists are travelling in private vehicles- all stakeholders in the state’s tourism are welcoming this change and anticipating another boost in tourism over the summer seasons.
Hotels and guesthouses in Shimla have also reached almost full capacity owing to the number of visitors.
“Pre-Covid years, we had an annual number of 1.70 crore tourists but during the Covid years, it was first 32 Lakh and later 57 lakh. Last year, we received 1.51 crore tourists. It shows that we revived tourism in the state with aggressive marketing and other strategies. This year, we have received 72 lakh tourists till May and by June end, we are expecting huge footfall. This weekend we had good footfall as well,” said Amit Kashyap, Director of the state’s Tourism Department. Kashyap added that more tourists are expected to arrive in the region in the month of June.”The tourist arrival has increased and the pleasant weather conditions in the state and more tourists are expected in the region in the month of June.
The foreign tourist arrival has not yet increased this year. In Shimla, we have nearly 70 per cent of people and on weekends the occupancy in Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (HPTDC) hotels and in Manali, we have 100 per cent occupancy,” he further added. Tourists from neighbouring states also find the hill town Shimla a second home to enjoy the summers away from home. However, several tourists are now away from the capital Shimla to the outskirts to beat the crowds. According to one tourist: “We are staying in Kufri, there is so much rush here and tourists are shifting to the outskirts of Shimla.”
Thousands of tourists annually visit the hill state. Over 17 lakh tourists visited Himachal Pradesh in 2019 while a total of 57 lakh tourists visited the hills in 2021. The tourism sector is the backbone of the state’s economy- which generates over Rs 11,000 crore in revenue- and contributes close to 7.3 per cent to the state’s GDP.