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Tourism in hill stations hit

New Delhi, June 22 (): Tourism business in Manali and Shimla has taken a hit with bookings for rooms getting cancelled by tour operators. T

he North Indian hill region has shifted from the tourism map and moved towards Goa and Kerala waterways. Major hill stations that were no way affected by the recent floods and rain like Dharamshala, Dalhousie, Nainital, Shimla and Manali are now facing cancellations during the tourism season while States like Rajasthan, Kerala, Goa and Andamans, where the season is over is getting business. The air fares to Dubai and Bangkok has attracted many.

Manali’s biggest resort is the Apple Country which has seen 15 lakh cancellations. Hotels and related tourist businesses like rafting in Rishikesh river valley has lost around Rs 9 crore business. The camp sites were washed away by the floods.

Three crore tourists visited Uttarakhand in 2012 but so far only 22 lakh have come. Travel websites report a drop of 30% in search related to hill stations in India. Amarnath yatra and Manosarvar trips are getting cancelled and diverted to Goa, Agra and Jaipur instead.

Usually with rains starting, the tourism season in Kerala gets over but this time resorts in hilly areas like Wayanad district have got unexpected bookings from north India even though it is slushy and wet at the moment.

Goa is seeing hectic activity even after the rains started. Travel agencies operating tours to hill stations have lost 20% business. Travel agents are telling customers that going to hill stations that are not affected is safe but the tourists are not willing to listen.

By this month end and in July, the flow is from Punjab and Haryana as well as NCR. The agents now are promoting Mount Abu instead.

The unexpected windfall for resorts has strengthened the tourism sector in Kerala. The houseboats that offer rides at a discount and resorts that cut down staff by 75% are now working in full swing as if the season never ended.

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