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Mass cancellation of hotel bookings in Himachal severely affects tourism business

Along with heavy loss of human lives, the incessant rains and flash floods in Himachal Pradesh have also damaged infrastructure, bringing the Himachal tourism industry to its knees. With the mass cancellation of hotel bookings, the occupancy has dropped by five per cent.

The rain fury in the hill state has damaged nearly 1,400 roads, with over 170 incidents of landslides and flash floods. Dozens of vehicles were washed away, while over 70,000 domestic and international tourists were stranded in the state due to road blockages in July. The tourists were, however, rescued safely by the state government.

Hoteliers and people in the tourism business said that the large-scale devastation has scared many tourists as hundreds of them have cancelled their holiday trips. Businessmen running leased out hotels are the worst hit. The cancellation of holiday trips has also hit the roadside eateries hard.

“We have incurred huge losses because of the flash floods that have left the roads damaged. There is no business as tourists are scared. We have been compelled to close our businesses as it has become difficult to pay the wages,” Mahesh Kumar Thakur, a Mandi-based small hotelier said.

Raj Kumar, another hotelier who runs a 25-room hotel in Mandi, said the hotel occupancy is at an all-time low for the past month. “We have never experienced this kind of rain fury in the past. We are only able to sell five rooms out of a total of 25 rooms. Tourists are avoiding visiting Himachal because of the flash floods,” Raj Kumar said.

The hoteliers have sought deferment of IT, GST and loan repayment for six months because of the losses incurred by the rain.

However, Himachal Pradesh has witnessed the highest ever tourist footfall this year in the past six years. According to the state tourism department sources, an estimated 1.6 crore tourists visited the state till June this year. This includes 99.7 lakh domestic and around 28,000 foreign tourists. (Source: India Today) (Picture courtesy: ANI)

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