Tourists staying for a shorter time in Shimla; tourism industry to prepare road map to attract visitors : The Tribune India

PTI

Shimla, January 29

The average stay of tourists in Shimla has come down from four-five days in the 1970s to one day now, according to a report by the Tourism Industry Stakeholders Association (TISHA).

However, tourists staying in unregistered/unauthorized accommodation are not accounted for, according to the report on the main factors affecting tourism and the viability of the hospitality industry in Shimla.

The decline is attributed to traffic congestion, parking problems and a growing number of unregistered accommodation in and around the state capital Shimla, which has led to a 70-80 percent drop in the average number of days tourists stay in registered accommodation in the queen of hills over five decades, the association said.

Shortage of water in summer, landslides on the Shimla-Parvanu National Highway making commuting risky during monsoons, the district administration’s advice on heavy traffic and avoiding commuting on slippery roads discourage tourists planning a trip to Shimla , and bookings have been canceled for these reasons several times in the past, said local hotelier Sushant Nag.

The association is preparing a road map to attract tourists to increase attendance and stay throughout the year. The chief minister will be appraised of the ground reality of the tourism industry with proposals to create a tourist-friendly atmosphere and create new attractions in and around tourist destinations and promote them, Tourism Industry Stakeholders Association president MK Seth said.

“Tourist arrivals have increased many times compared to the 1970s because people have had more time and less push and pull. When we calculate the average average, the average duration decreases as the number of tourists increases,” Department of Tourism, Himachal Pradesh University, Head Chander Mohan said, adding that tourists staying in unauthorized accommodation sold at cheap rates are not included in these data.

Tourist stay in Shimla city may have decreased as some visitors seek solace in rural areas and with the improvement of roads and rural infrastructure and the opening of accommodation, tourist stay in these belts of the district has increased, said director of tourism Amit Kashyap. .

High taxes and huge water and garbage charges for genuine hoteliers, as well as cheap unregistered accommodation (hotels, lodges and B&B units) offered to tourists have also affected the industry, hoteliers say.

Even illegal structures awaiting legalization are selling rooms online, creating unhealthy competition. Over 350 such unregistered units have come up in and around Shimla, which are neither registered with government offices nor listed under HomeStay and B&B (B&B) and operate through online portals, according to the report.

Hotels and car parks in Shimla city can accommodate around 2800 – 3000 vehicles. About 40 percent of the spaces in the city’s six main car parks are used by local residents. Overcharging for private or rented parking has become a common practice and tourists are the beneficiaries, Seth said, adding that, unable to survive, hoteliers have started renting out their hotels and tenants are selling rooms at low prices to cover the lease amount. creating unhealthy competition.

The total number of registered hotels, guesthouses and residential units in Shimla district is 556, with a total of 9,530 rooms, of which about 50 percent are in Shimla city and its periphery, according to tourism department data.

According to the guidelines, Homestay units can have a maximum of three rooms, while a bed and breakfast scheme can have six rooms, but these guidelines are often ignored.

Himachal Pradesh’s tourism sector contributes about 7.5 percent to the state’s GDP and is one of the largest employment generating industries. In 2021, 9,52,617 tourists visited Shimla region.

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