No flights to Himachal: Manali may see fall in foreign tourists’ arrival
Himachal
Vacation Travel News
MANALI/SHIMLA:
Manali may witness
a big drop in arrival of foreign tourists this year as no flight connectivity
is forcing them to change their destinations, travel agents in Manali claim.
A plane at Kullu-Manali airport in Bhuntar (file photo)
Problems of high
end tourism industry of Manali does not seem ending as the hill town continues
suffering losses worth over Rs 15 lakh every day only due to unavailability of
flights. As there is no flight operating to Kullu airport since September, the
industry has already suffered losses worth over 15 crore and now dark clouds
are hovering over summer season which is starting from April 15.
Travel agents
say foreign clients are cancelling their tour plans to Manali for coming days. Manali
travel agent association president Anil Sharma said, “Our regular clients from
abroad who are in contact with us only ask for the status of flight on Delhi-Kullu route. As nobody is sure about the flight connectivity status in
summer season and tourists want to be sure about their advance booking, most of
the cream tourists are cancelling their plans. Very few tourists would reach here
this year.”
The star
category hotels in Manali are also suffering the brunt of indefinite
cancellation of flights. Hoteliers claim only budgeted tourists are reaching
here and many of their clients cancelled their bookings in winter season. “Nobody
wants to suffer the hectic surface journey of 14 hours from Delhi. Booking in most
of the luxury hotels to a far extent depends on flight connectivity,” an
hotelier Rajesh Thakur said.
Tourism
entrepreneurs in Manali say cancellation of only one available flight would
continue causing losses worth Rs 15 lakh every day to tourism industry of
Manali. As most of the high end tourists from abroad are planning their tour to Himachal for trekking and various adventure activities, the negative reply from
tour operators regarding flight booking is diverting them to other destinations.
“It is amazing
that the 48-seater plane that used to operate sorties to Manali never landed
with empty seats. Even Kullu airport is capable of handling multi-sorties
between April and July. But, nobody is interested in this sector,” Anil Sharma
said.

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