The craze to visit Atal Tunnel propelled hotel occupancy in key hill resorts of Shimla, Manali to 90 per cent, as a record 28,210 vehicles crossed the Atal Tunnel on a single day on Sunday (December 24).
After snowfall at Atal tunnel on Saturday, tourists made beeline to the tunnel and a record number of 28,210 vehicles crossed Atal Tunnel on Sunday, according to Lahaul and Spiti police on Monday.
The hoteliers are upbeat as the local MeT office has predicted rain in mid hills and rain and snow in higher hills on December 30 and 31. The occupancy is around 90 per cent and the Manali Carnival from January 1 to 6, which would showcase local culture and cuisines, would boost tourist arrival in the year-end, said President of Federation of Himachal Hotels and Restaurant Associations (FOHHRA) Gajender Thakur.
“We welcome the tourists, who have come to the State in lakhs,” said Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, adding that Himachal has stood up again after the disaster to welcome the tourists. He also praised the efforts of district administration and the Police jawans for efficiently managing the huge tourist rush and extending helping hand to few struck up in snow particularly at North and South Portal of Rohtang Tunnel at minus 12 degree C.
Kullu district was one of worst disaster hit districts of the state during the monsoon fury but it has bounced back, kindling the hopes for revival of the tourism industry which mainstay of the people in the region. The hotel occupancy in hill resort of Shimla rose to around 90 per cent during the weekend (Saturday and Sunday), but it dropped to 60 per cent and Monday being a working day, people started returning, Vice President of Shimla Hotel and Restaurant Association Prince Kukreja told PTI.
Even though a white Christmas eluded Shimla city, Carnivals added to the shine of Christmas-New Year festivities in the capital city and with MeT predicting rain and snow on December 30 and 31, the occupancy is expected to be 100 per cent, president of the association M K Seth told PTI. Carnivals from Christmas to New Year in state capital Shimla have added to the vigor of festivities. Sufiana recitals, Quawalis, performances by musical groups and plays are other attractions.
Group selfies at Historic Ridge Church were in vogue. However, traffic chaos prevailed in the capital city as thousands of vehicles were in the city and traffic congestion was visible at several places. As many as 55,345 vehicles arrived in Shimla in the past 72 hours, said Shimla Police in a Facebook Post on Monday evening. Elaborate arrangements have been made and traffic police are on the job, the police said.
The Himachal Pradesh Tourism development Corporation (HPTDC) has also offered special packages for New Year celebrations in its resorts for Gala Nights, Dine ‘N’ Dance, DJ with live music, dance competitions and fun activities for children, said Managing Director HPTDC Amit Kashyap.
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