Tourists planning to visit Himachal for summer vacations without advance booking may face problems finding rooms in desired hotel as most of the hotels have already been booked to their capacity till mid June.
Be it hotels, resorts, homestays or rest houses, booking procedure is going on at full pace in Manali, Shimla, Dalhousie, Dharamshala, Kinnaur and Kasauli. Travel agents say more than 70 percent of the hotels have been fully occupied and they are not able to serve their customers well as rooms are not available in quality hotels. Summer season is picking up the pace slowly in the state and May and June months are expected to remain fully jam packed with lakhs are tourists.
“Almost 70 percent of the star category hotels in all hill resorts are showing full occupancy for May and booking is at full speed for June,” a travel agent in Manali, Ramesh Kanwar, said. He added that lakhs of tourists have booked their hotels 2-3 months prior to their arrival to avoid any problem. “Though some hotels have blocked some rooms to let them to customers directly on the desk at full tariff cost but estimates say finding room in good hotels would not be an easy task for them,” he said.
The frequent snowfall and rains on mountains that have maintained cold in neighbouring states of Himachal was causing delay in peak summer season here.
Himachal Pradesh tourism development corporation (HPTDC) assistant general manager in Manali Mohan Lal Sharma said drop in temperature is preventing tourists feel like summer vacations and their hotels are recording occupancy up to 70 percent. “We have a good number of online booking for May and June and occupancy rate would definitely rise after May 15,” he adds.
Around 20 percent visitors to Himachal are only from Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh and Delhi who frequently visits hill stations of the state. Travel experts say these visitors don’t believe in advance booking and expected to wander hotel to hotel in search of room. “Number of hotels in Dalhousie, Dharamshala, Shimla and Manali has almost doubled in last 10 years but number of visitors too has increased many folds. Most of the hotels have opened their booking offices in metro cities from where they get booking done many weeks before tourists’ arrival. In such conditions, those who are looking for star category hotels may have to be satisfied with budget hotel,” another travel expert, Dhani Thakur, said.
Himachal attracted more than 1.5 crore tourists, including 4.85 lakh foreign tourists in 2011.