Kullu, April 10
Amid the increasing summer heat, tourists have started making a beeline for Kullu-Manali. The removal of restrictions on adventure sports has given an added advantage to tourism stakeholders. Manali, Kasol and the Banjar valley were thronged by visitors this weekend. The number of tourists visiting the district from April to July increases due to the rising temperatures in the plains.
The stakeholders claim Kullu-Manali has become the most favourite destination of the country. They say in recent years, Shimla has also been lagging behind in terms of attracting tourists as compared to Kullu. In 2018, Kullu saw three lakh more tourists than Shimla.
According to statistics of the Tourism Department, the number of tourists starts increasing in April and May-June is the peak season of the year. Analysing the data of five years from 2015 to 2019, 17,52,742 tourists have come to the district in April, 21,31,096 in May, 22,99,923 in June and 17,91,598 in July, which is 50 per cent more than the tourists coming in other months.
Kullu Deputy Commissioner Ashutosh Garg said with the increasing number of tourists in Kullu, the police administration and other related departments have also been asked to make preparations. He said a better facilities would be provided to tourists.
The Police Department has geared up for the tourist season. Hoteliers are expecting record tourists in the district this time because of the lifting of the Covid curbs. The Kullu police have sent a demand for four reserve battalions from the police headquarters of Shimla. The additional force will be deployed at Atal Tunnel, Manali, Manikaran, Kasol and other hotspots.
Keeping the traffic smooth remains a challenge. This problem is more in Manali, Manikaran, Kasol, Jibhi and the Tirthan valley. The police have prepared a roadmap to deal with this.
Kullu SP Gurdev Sharma said in the first phase, additional 120 jawans would be deployed and, if necessary, the demand for more policemen could be made. He said 50 policemen had reached Kullu, others would also come soon. He said drones and CCTV cameras would monitor traffic in Kullu-Manali. Apart from this, Home Guard personnel would also be deployed.
He said, “Mainly the problem of traffic jams is more in Bhuntar and a separate traffic plan is being prepared for that. Luxury buses will be sent in intervals.”
Hotels witness 80% occupancy
- HP Travel Agent Association chief Budhi Prakash Thakur said Manali hotels witnessed 80% occupancy this weekend, however, the hospitality units in the suburbs had less occupancy
- Manikaran Valley Hotel Association chief Kishan Thakur said the occupancy in Kasol was around 75 per cent during weekend.
Admn takes stock of Gulaba barrier
- Manali SDM Surender Thakur, DSP Hemraj and Manali MC president Chaman Kapoor inspected the Gulaba barrier on the Manali-Rohtang road in Kullu on Sunday.
- The SDM said the joint inspection had been done and the road till Beas Nullah was good for plying of vehicles. He said minor repair work was required at some places.
‘Shimla lags behind Kullu in footfall’
Tourism stakeholders claim that in recent years, Shimla has been lagging behind Kullu in terms of attracting tourists as compared to Kullu. In 2018, Kullu saw three lakh more tourists than Shimla. According to the Tourism Department, the number of tourists starts increasing in April and May-June is the peak season of the year.