Tourism in hills takes a hit in summer break

May and June being the peak travel season with many flocking to Himalayan towns, summer vacation trips to Shimla, Manali, Nainital and other hill stations remain cancelled due to the pandemic. And it’s not only the travel plans that are disrupted, but

Tourism in hills takes a hit in summer break

May and June being the peak travel season with many flocking to Himalayan towns, summer vacation trips to Shimla, Manali, Nainital and other hill stations remain cancelled due to the pandemic. And it’s not only the travel plans that are disrupted, but the livelihoods of those working in the tourism business are also in jeopardy.

Popular hill stations that witnessed heavy tourist influx till last year are now missing the hustle bustle. “This has been very tough for us. Our café is one of the most liked places in the town, and we have 15 employees, whom we did pay without any salary cut,” says Biswa Ranjan Khora of iHeart Café in Bhimtal, which has now resorted to the delivery-only option to keep the business afloat.

An employee of a heritage hotel in Shimla located on the Mall Road states that all the hotel bookings were cancelled after March 22. The hotel is currently waiting for the next update from the government to proceed with the new bookings, and has been provided with certain parameters by the hotel group to follow once operations resume.

Waiting for the crisis to settle are several cab drivers and adventure activity organisers, who express concern over the hit their jobs have taken due to the lockdown. Daulat, a taxi driver from Manali, who used to frequently drive tourists around different sightseeing spots in the peak season, is now out of work.

“Humara season toh March se June hota hai jiss mein ₹1,000 per paragliding session kama lete the. Aur ek din mein do teen sessions ho jaate the,” shares Shiv Thakur, an adventure activity organiser in Bir Billing.