After witnessing a sudden surge in tourist footfall that left both hotels and roads choked in Manali last week, the hoteliers on Thursday said hotel occupancy has dropped to 60-70 per cent while traffic congestion too has finished in the tourist town.
The long-weekend last week took toll on the infrastructure of Manali. As the maddening crowd and multiple traffic jams for hours that irked tourists have ended, the hoteliers said they are inviting tourists to Manali to enjoy cold and calm environment. The taxi fares too have come down to half of what was being charged until few days back. They said if tourists want to see the miracle of nature in the form of snowfall in mid-June, this is the right time to visit Manali.
Manali Hoteliers’ Association president Anup Thakur said 30 to 40 per cent of the rooms in most hotels are empty. “We confess that tourists had to face some problems like traffic jams, non-availability of rooms, high taxi fare and room tariff. We assure tourists that things have improved now. The problem of traffic jams has almost gone due to better traffic management and spreading of tourist vehicles to other tourists attractions of the district like Hamta, Jana, Naggar and Manikaran,” he said.
He added that rooms are easily available in hotels at reasonable price and buses from Delhi and Chandigarh are reaching Manali on time. “As many tourists are visiting Lahaul and Rohtang together, taxis for Rohtang pass are easily available. The taxi operators of Manali are charging fair price. The traffic at some points is moving very slow due to road construction works but we have got rid of hour-long jams starting from Kullu,” he added.
Hoteliers said the availability of high mountains of snow at Rohtang pass has ensured prolonged tourism season this year. “Mother Nature has blessed us with good snowfall this season. Snow will last till July on Rohtang pass. This is after many years that tourists are getting to see over 10ft of snow. Rohtang is experiencing fresh snowfall in June which is miracle for tourists and blessings for people of Manali. Given the current situation, we are confident that tourist season will continue till mid July,” Thakur said.
The hoteliers had a meeting where they discussed on how they can improve the hospitality sector of Manali so that tourists return back home with good memories. They decided that hotels that will overcharge or misbehave with tourists will not be spared. The association decided to apprise government of the major problems that tourists face in Manali. They emphasized on opening of new sites for tourists by connecting them with ropeway and roads which will force tourists to increase their stay in Manali.