Monsoon season is traditionally lean period for the tourism industry in Himachal Pradesh and a time when hotels even lay off staff due to less business.
Typically the summer tourist season in the state begins in April and continues through June when the tourists from plain throng the famous hill stations to enjoy icy cool and pleasant weather with families as educations institutions in metropolitans cities are closed for summer vacations.
However, in recent years the state tourism department has extended the tourist season during monsoon “when the heavens touch the earth” to promote hill state as an ideal destination for rain drop season during magical time of year. The North West monsoon casts its spell over land of fruit bowl of India. A growing number of people, especially domestic tourists, are discovering absolute delight in a different, more lush and refreshed hills to spend the holiday vacation by their heart as nature itself comes alive with greenery everywhere during rainy season in mountain peaks.
In order to celebrate numerous vibrant monsoon festivals, the state tourism department is trying to attract tourists during this time of the year, calling it `raindrop tourism by offering off-season discounts and subsidized packages and the good thing is that one can enjoy a comfortable state of mind with a personalised touch to the vacation by living close to nature without any outside interference.
All though visiting the tribal areas during wet spell was the idea initially disagreed by everybody, however the inner ranges of the mountains of Himalayas with open valleys in tribal areas of Lahaulspiti, Pangi , Bharmour and Kinnaur has become a huge hit during this season .The rain is rarely reported during monsoon in these areas, being rain shadow areas, where atmosphere decreases with increasing altitude blocking the passage of rain-producing weather systems, casting a “shadow” of dryness behind them. These areas situated at the elevations ranging from 13000 ft to 16000 ft above means sea level receives highest numbers of tourists during monsoon in the year. These areas have experienced seasonal first mild snowfall with cold winds sweeping in main towns of valleys and the mean temperature in the lower altitudinal zone varying from 10 degree centigrade to 20 degree centigrade depending on altitude. Amidst the grandeur of the mountain peaks, lush valleys, fast flowing rivers, tribal belt offers her visitors a rare and singular experience during this season.
The 475 KM long world highest motroable road Manali-Leh national highway is already connected from Lahaul area through Rohtang pass (13050 ft height ) and Baralacha-la (16000ft height ) which has opened vistas for adventure tourism with foreign tourists preferring tented accommodations in natural sojourn and explore the mountain peak through various trekking routes .The tribal districts of Lahaul Spiti and Kinnaur registered around 2 lakh tourists during the year 2010 as against 1.75 lakh tourists in the year 2009 and 1.15 lakh tourists during the year 2009 during monsoon season while total 3.82 lakh, 6.01 lakh ,8.25 lakh, tourists visited the tribal districts during the year 2008, 2009 and 2010 respectively .The data shows that around 25 % of the total tourists visit the tribal districts during monsoon season
The Shimla, Kullu and Kangra districts registered the highest number of tourists in the year 2008 with 4.96 lakh, 3.81lakh and 3.36 lakh tourists visiting these districts during the monsoon season while Shimla, Kullu and Kangra registered around 5.3 lakhs, 5.6 lakhs and 3.60 lakh tourists during the year 2009. While the Kullu , Shimla and Kangra registered 5.53 lakh, 5.26 lakh and 3.95 lakh tourists arrival during monsoon season during the year 2010 told doctor Arun Sharma director tourism .He told that state run H P T D C hotels are offering heavy discounts in all major tourist destinations during the leisure period from 1st July to 14th September 2011 and added that various travel and hotel associations at Manali, Shimla and Dharamshala are also offering discounts to the visitors besides extensive marketing campaigns in metropolitan cities through reputed travel agencies
The tourism department has set a target to attract total 30 lakh tourists during this monsoon season while around 28 lakhs tourists visited the state during last year. Around 22 lakhs tourists visited the state during monsoon in the year 2008 which increased to 26 lakh tourists during the year 2009.said Dr Arun Sharma Director Tourism .He told that out of it 1.45 lakh foreign tourists visited the state in the year 2008 which increased to 1.61 lakh tourists in the year 2009 and 1.68 lakh foreign tourists in the year 2010 and a target has been set up to attract around 2.00 lakh foreign tourists during this monsoon season.
Director tourism Dr Arun Sharma told that in order to promote the village tourism, the department has identified one village in each District of the Pradesh. To divert the tourist flow from urban to rural area, and has launched Home Stay Scheme under which 359 home stay units have been registered till date, where the tourists can experience rural hospitality in natural environment.