Shimla: Weighed down with severe losses and worse hit tourism industry due to Corona pandemic, the hoteliers of Himachal Pradesh have joined hands to take up the various cause of the hotel industry.

The hoteliers on Wednesday constituted a Federation of hotels and Restaurant Association that comprise of 20 city hotel associations including Shimla, Manali, Dharamshala, Dalhousie, Chail, Kasauli and Palampur.

Talking to media persons, the Federation President Ashwani Bamba said that they will also work with the state government in formulation of the policies, which will help in growth of the sustainable tourism in the state.

“Although the idea to form the federation was mooted about two years back, however it has become more imperative in wake of the many common issues and challenges faced by those in the hotel industry owing to the pandemic,” he said, adding the tourism bodies at the national level like FAITH and FHRAI were championing the cause of hotel industry during the Corona pandemic.  

Hotels and Restaurants in the state that were shut down due to Corona pandemic for about six months continue to struggle despite it has started opening for tourists recently, he added.

“The expected footfall of tourist during the festive season is still missing. Tourist especially from states like Gujrat, Maharashtra and Bengal used to travel in bulk during the Dushera and Diwali holidays, however they are not travelling to Himachal this year due to Corona fear,” said Bamba.

“Interstate AC buses are not operating and railways are still to resume normal operations. This has also hampered the tourists from distant places to venture Himachal. We are getting tourist from neighbouring Punjab and Haryana on the weekends only,” he said.  

With the situation having not improved, low occupancies has impacted the revenue generation and the hoteliers are not in a position to pay House Tax and other levies in this financial year, said Federation Vice President Sanjay Sood.

“In these difficult times, HP State Electricity Board should not demand full connected load charges from October 20. We request full waiver of load charges for at least another six months,” he urged.

Despite the state government having come up with the interest subvention scheme, the hoteliers continue to face many obstacles and difficulties and hardly any loan is disbursed to them, he revealed.

“We request the Tourism department, which is the nodal agency in the scheme to sort out the issues with the participating bankers,” said Sood.