1 Jan 2024

Himachal Pradesh: What led to lowest hotel occupancy in past 4 decades in Shimla on New Year

Shimla, a renowned tourist hotspot in Himachal Pradesh, encountered a significant decline in visitor numbers during the New Year's celebrations 2024, registering a mere 50-60 percent occupancy rate – the lowest in the past four decades. 

Despite the expectation of weekend snowfall and the Chief Minister's call for a more lenient approach towards revelers under the influence of liquor, Shimla failed to charm tourists as it did the previous year, which boasted an occupancy rate exceeding 80 percent.

Despite the local Meteorological Office's forecast of snowfall and rainfall in select hilly areas due to a fresh Western Disturbance, no such weather conditions materialized in the prominent tourist spots.

Even though the Mall Road and The Ridge buzzed with activity during the winter carnival, transforming the area into a lively fair adorned with lights and cultural events, this surge in foot traffic did not translate into increased hotel bookings.

Himachal Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu had stressed a hospitality-focused strategy, urging the police to embody the principle of 'Atithi Devo Bhava' (Guest is God) and ensure smooth traffic flow across districts. Furthermore, he allowed food establishments and pan shops to operate 24x7 and instructed the police not to apprehend inebriated tourists but to assist them to their accommodations to preserve their New Year celebrations.

Unregistered lodgings

A local hotelier expressed concern about the growing presence of unregistered tourism units, encroaching upon the sales of licensed hotels, homestays, and other authorized accommodations. He lamented that travelers arriving by train and luxury buses often fall prey to intermediaries directing them towards unregistered lodgings.

Preference for secluded accommodations

Another hotelier noted that the preference for secluded accommodations nestled amidst forests and tranquility, especially for private parties, has diverted tourists away from the city center. Even the typically bustling hotels in the main town failed to reach full capacity during this period.

Approximately 7,600 tourist vehicles from other states entered Shimla via Shoghi barrier on the Shimla-Chandigarh Road between Saturday morning and Sunday afternoon, according to SP Shimla Sanjeev Kumar Gandhi. Stakeholders attributed the diversion of tourists to other destinations to adverse publicity on social media and certain electronic platforms highlighting traffic congestion issues in Shimla.

No comments:

Post a Comment