Shimla – With the recent monsoon fury leaving the picturesque landscapes of Himachal Pradesh in devastation, the once-thriving tourism industry has come to a grinding halt. The heavy rains and floods during the month of July have caused havoc, resulting in almost zero per cent of hotel occupancy. In a bid to woo back tourists, the Himachal Pradesh Hotel Association has taken a bold step by offering a 50 per cent discount on room tariffs. Additionally, the state’s Public Works Minister, Vikramaditya Singh, has reassured travellers that Himachal Pradesh is now safe to visit.

Prior to the monsoon’s onslaught, the state had recorded an impressive one crore and six thousand tourist footfalls in the first half of 2023. However, the natural calamity took a severe toll on the hospitality sector, leading to the cancellation of thousands of bookings and an alarming drop in tourist numbers.

To woo back tourists, both private hotels and the Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation have announced a 50 per cent discount on room rents until September 15.

The Federation of Himachal Hotels and Restaurant Associations expressed hope that this strategic move will attract more tourists by September.

Himachal Public Works Minister Vikramaditya Singh has also come forward in restoring confidence among travellers. In a video message, he assured potential visitors that the situation was becoming normal and that Himachal Pradesh was safe for travel. He further emphasized that the government was working diligently to ensure the safety and comfort of all tourists.

“I assure tourists that things are coming back to normal, and Himachal Pradesh is safe to travel now. You can come to enjoy the natural beauty of the state, and the government would make all efforts to ensure that your stay is safe and all facilities are provided to you,” stated Minister Vikramaditya Singh.

Despite the optimism, the monsoon’s devastating impact is not to be underestimated. Distressing videos of landslides blocking roads, tourists stranded and floods damaging buildings and vehicles had gone viral on social media platforms. Additionally, roads caving in caused enormous damage to life and property. As per the state emergency response center, the monsoon has claimed the lives of 184 people in rain-related incidents and road accidents since June 24, with 33 individuals still reported missing.

The collective efforts of the hotel industry, the government’s reassurance and the serene beauty of Himachal Pradesh have raised hopes for a gradual recovery in the tourism sector. As the weather improves and the monsoon recedes, the hills stand ready to welcome back visitors to their tranquil embrace.

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Rahul Bhandari is Editor of TheNewsHimachal and has been part of the digital world for last 15 years.