With end of June, the tourist footfall in Kullu-Manali has started to decrease as summer vacations in most schools have ended and monsoon has arrived in many parts of the country.
The hoteliers say its safe to visit Kullu-Manali in monsoon season as the highway has mostly widened and this is the best time to visit as hotels are easily available at reasonable tariff. They said enough snow is available at Rohtang pass and taxis are easily available for a discounted fare.
The peak summer tourist season in Himachal has come to an end. The tourist footfall has dropped by nearly 50 per cent in a week. The hotel occupancy which was nearly 100 per cent last week has plunged below 50 percent.
The hotel occupancy is expected to drop to less than 25 per cent in a week as monsoon showers are likely to bring respite from the heat in plains.
“We saw peak tourism season for less than 20 days in June when all hoteliers did good business. With beginning of July, tourists start avoiding hill stations. July and August are the leanest business months,” a hotelier Ramesh Thakur said.
Most hotels are giving huge discounts on room tariff to attract more tourists in off-season. The parking and traffic jam problem has finished here. The taxi rent too has suddenly dropped as cabbies are not getting passengers easily.
Most of the hoteliers say this was the worst summer season for them as they did not see 100 per cent occupancy in June which is rare for them.
They blamed long traffic jams, inadequate parking, unavailability of permit for vehicle to go to Rohtang pass and extremely high taxi fare for this. Most tourists had bad experience as they had to spend all nights in long traffic jams between Manali and Rohtang pass, they said.
Manali Hoteliers Association president Anup Ram Thakur said though number of tourists has decreased but hoteliers are expecting more tourists in July.
“Rohtang pass still has a lot of snow this year which will last till July end. The traffic jams have gone. Hotels and taxis are available easily. This is the best time to visit Manali,” he added.