Shimla : The tourist rush continues this year in the popular Himachal Pradesh resorts of Shimla and Manali some twenty days after the onset of the monsoon.
Both places saw a huge rush of tourists over the weekend despite heavy rains all over northern India.This time the rains set in a week early in Himachal on 23 June.
Observers say these trends are indicators that Shimla and Manali have now become all season destinations.
Travel agents say in the past after the onset of the monsoon tourist destinations in the state would witness a sudden drop in arrivals but this year is unusual as the rush has continued particularly on weekends.
In the past hotels would offer off season packages but due to the rush continuing members of the hotel and travel industry are reluctant to offer discounts this rainy season.
It also indicates that the growing Indian middle class is travelling more as it gets richer with the booming Indian economy.
The state tourism department officials say according to the current trends this year Himachal Pradesh will set a new record in tourist arrivals.
They say the figure is likely to be well over 15 million by the end of the year as 7 million tourists have already visited the state so far.
Last year witnessed a growth of over 16 per cent in the arrival of both domestic and foreign tourists and a record total of 13.3 million tourists visited the state in 2010 as compared to 11.5 million in 2009.
The number of foreign tourist rose from 400,000 to 455,000 in 2010.