25 Jul 2023

How Himachal's Tourism Industry Will Recover From Disaster; Will Tourists Flock Again To Manali?

Due to heavy rains and floods in the second week of July, Himachal Pradesh's popular tourist spot Manali witnessed maximum damage and due to this the entire city came to a standstill. The disaster resulted in heavy loss to both life and property had to be suffered.

Manali is considered the international tourist center of Himachal Pradesh. It is connected to Leh through the Atal tunnel.

35 lakh tourists visit Manali annually

Apart from apple production and export, the economy of this city depend on the tourism industry. Under normal circumstances, 35 lakh tourists come here annually.
The remote areas of Kullu and Manali attract tourists, especially foreign tourists.

There are 1500 hotels, guest houses and home stays in the city. The effect of flood on these people is clearly visible.

According to the district administration, around 50,000 tourists were present in Kullu and Manali when the situation of incessant rains and floods occurred.

'Everything has come to a halt'


Mukesh Thakur, president of the Hotel Owners Association of Manali, said, “Large number of tourists may not gather in Manali again after this experience. We had seen the era of Covid. Tourists had stopped coming. But we recovered from that situation. But everything has come to a halt. Road connectivity, electricity, water and mobile networks are all disrupted and we have no backup plan.”

According to Mukesh Thakur, the construction of the walls of the National Highway along the Beas river was not as per the proper norms.

The gushing Beas river swept away more than 50 houses and commercial properties. There has been extensive damage to properties along the National Highway.

'Some losses will never be compensated'


Locals said some losses are such that they will never be compensated. They said it was horrifying to see the river Beas changing its course and taking away everything. Within minutes, vehicles, shops and houses standing on the National Highway were all washed away.

Due to this flood, the contact between Kullu and Manali was also broken. Kullu Deputy Commissioner Ashutosh Garg told that it will take a long time to fix the roads completely.

Relief package demanded

Mukesh Thakur is demanding a relief package from the government for the recovery of the tourism industry.

He said, “All the tourists were rescued but they will feel fearful and nervous in coming to Manali. We are demanding a relief package from the government as it will take a long time for the situation to return to normal."

“We did not get any help during the Covid crisis. But in the current crisis, we need help.”

According to the local people, it is the responsibility of the government not to allow major construction works to take place on the river banks and this aspect should be constantly monitored.

Apart from this, common people are also demanding banning the dumping of construction waste in the river. All these are the issues for which environmental activists have been drawing attention towards for a long time, but the attention of the government and the common people never went towards this.

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