The tourist footfall in Manali has dipped in the past couple of days due to the rise in coronavirus cases.
About 2,000 to 3,000 vehicles from other states were registered daily in the green tax barrier at the entrance of Manali from December 20 to January 6.
The number has come down to just 300 in two days after Covid restrictions were imposed on January 6. Various other states have also imposed restrictions, which also had an adverse impact on the arrival of tourists.
The occupancy in hotels was about 50 per cent. While 15,299 vehicles from other states had arrived at Manali in January 2020, 38,060 vehicles entered in January 2021 after the opening of the Atal Tunnel.
Usually, due to snowfall, the tourism business in Kullu-Manali booms. Beneficiaries of the tourism industry were hopeful that they might recover some losses suffered in the past two years but the increase in the cases of Covid played a spoilsport.
Hotelier Parmanand said many bookings for January had been cancelled after the resurgence of Covid. The bookings had fallen by around 90 per cent and there were no further queries, which is a major cause for concern. “Manali tourism has again come on the back foot,” he added.
Various hotspots of the district witnessed a large number of tourists during Christmas and New Year. However, following a sudden surge in Covid cases and the imposition of various restrictions, the crowd has suddenly vanished.
Himachal Pradesh Travel Agent Association president Budhi Prakash Thakur said the government should take amicable decisions for the survival of those associated with the tourism industry. Various taxes, levies and fees should be waived for the Covid period and the domestic rate of electricity should be charged from hoteliers.
He said other charges like pollution, licence fee, liquor licence and registration should be waived. He added that House Tax on hotels charged by the Municipal Committee should be reduced.