Dharamshala, June 16: The continuous unrest and terrorism activities have affected tourism sector drastically in Kashmir while Himachal Pradesh has registered a whopping growth as tourists in large numbers arrived here. However, all the other states have seen growth in tourism but Himachal registered a major gain.
According to the Ritesh Patial who is a local tourist information officer said, at least 23,000 tourists visit Manali daily during the peak season in June in the normal year. But as the unrest in Kashmir continues, now up to 30,000 tourists arrive in Himachal. The increase in tourism has led the economic growth of not only individuals, traders but also to the state government.
Himachal has seen steady growth in tourism but Kashmir’s situation has led to the growth of around 5-7%. Due to this, Himachal government is under the extreme pressure to handle the chaos of tourists, local traders etc. Himachal becomes a hunting ground for unscrupulous taxi operators, who overcharge tourists right under the nose of the administration.
Almost everyone visiting Manali wants to see the famous Rohtang Pass but three years ago, however, the NGT limited the number of vehicles passing through Rohtang to 1,200 in order to preserve its fragile ecology. The taxi companies charge tourists Rs 8,000 to travel the 50-km stretch from Manali to Rohtang Pass even though the rate fixed by the administration is Rs 2,400 for four-seat vehicles.
Finding a place to park, for example, is a challenge. The state capital has 14,000 registered vehicles and only 500 parking spots. In the summer, most hotels face water shortages. Hoteliers can use water tankers, but these often rely on unsafe sources.
There are several other issues also which has increased with the increase in tourists in Himachal. Local administration said there is a need to create more infrastructure to cater to the demand.