Shimla, January 12
The rapid increase in Covid-19 cases with the arrival of the third wave has proved to be detrimental to the tourism industry that has been reeling under the impact of the pandemic for the past two years.
During the winter season, hotels generally remain full due to New Year celebrations and snowfall but bookings are being cancelled and there is a sharp decline in the occupancy rate, which has dropped by 70 per cent, says president of Tourism Industry Stakeholders Association Mohinder Seth.
The hoteliers were hoping for a good season this winter but the pandemic and other restrictions imposed by the district administration has further hit the industry, shattering all hopes of a recovery, he adds.
The tourism industry was upbeat due to timely snowfall and tourist rush during Christmas and New Year but due to the diversion of traffic from the Tutikandi bypass, tourists and locals faced great inconvenience while barricades at the Victory Tunnel blocked access to about 60 hotels situated across the tunnel up to Lakkar Bazaar and most of the hotels beyond Tunnel No. 103 were vacant despite a high tourist footfall, rues Seth.
A large number of tourists come without advance booking and search for accommodation after reaching Shimla but they could not find hotels of their choice due to restricted movement, he says.
Covid fear looms
Bookings are being cancelled and there is a sharp decline in the occupancy rate, which has dropped by 70 pc. — Mohinder Seth, chief, tourism industry