In a bid to attract tourists and generate much-needed revenue, the Himachal Pradesh Public Works Department (PWD) has announced plans to open 79 historic rest houses, including those situated in remote areas of Lahaul-Spiti, Bharmaur, and Kinnaur districts, for online bookings. The move comes as part of a broader initiative to revamp and transform these century-old structures into comfortable and affordable accommodations for visitors.

The decision to open these rest houses to the public is driven by the dual objectives of promoting tourism and bolstering the state’s income. PWD Minister Vikramaditya Singh emphasized that the funds generated from the room rents will be utilized for upgrading the existing facilities and restoring the historical rest houses. He clarified that a portion of the rooms in each rest house would be reserved for VIP guests.

To facilitate the management and booking process, the PWD plans to establish a society led by the local superintendent engineer. The society will oversee the online booking system, allowing tourists to reserve rooms conveniently. Currently, only one VIP room in each rest house meets acceptable standards, prompting the need for comprehensive improvements.

Singh acknowledged the subpar conditions of most rest houses and outlined the ambitious plan to upgrade all 1,800 rooms, transforming them into VIP facilities. Outsourcing the management of these accommodations is a key component of the plan, aimed at streamlining operations and ensuring better maintenance and service delivery.

One significant change involves the introduction of a daily fee for occupants, with individuals staying in rest houses required to pay ₹500 per day. Those opting for perimeter houses will incur an additional daily fee of ₹600. Food charges will be separate, providing occupants with the flexibility to choose their preferred meals.

The restoration and enhancement of British-era rest houses add a cultural dimension to the project. These historical sites, scattered across the state, will undergo renovations to preserve their heritage while offering modern facilities that meet contemporary standards.

Tourism enthusiasts and travel experts have praised the initiative, highlighting the potential to draw tourists to lesser-known locations. The move is expected to create memorable experiences for travellers while simultaneously allowing the PWD to generate revenue and effectively utilize its properties. Additionally, the opening of rest houses is anticipated to contribute to better management, maintenance, and upkeep of these properties, ensuring their sustained viability over time.