For Christmas, tourists give Shimla a miss

Shimla: With peace prevailing in Kashmir and the country headed for an economic slowdown, it’s not house full here this Christmas like is used to be in earlier years.

Christmas decorations at Christ Church Shimla

“In many years it has been one of the weakest Christmas festive week here,” says Davender Shyam, an hotel owner.

Bookings that used to achieve full occupancy a week prior to Christmas Eve found many rooms vacant in many hotels across the city.

Finding enough space to take a walk on The Mall that otherwise used to be a crowded lot at this time of the year, Narinder Chauhan says, “Mercifully the crowd out here is not what it had started to become in the past few years.”

General manager at Oberoi Clarkes, DP Bhatia said, “it’s been a real lean month, with there being hardly any tourists there for what used to a packed house for the festive week.

When contacted, Surinder Justa, a tourism official who keeps a tab on arrivals said, “there is about 60 percent occupancy in most of the hotels.

The long dry spell and there being no snow has diverted a large number of tourists to Kashmir. Impact of the economic slowdown is also being felt, he said.

Seema Kashyap, a tourist here for a week long holiday said, “though it is pretty cold in the evening but the days are better than what they are back in Delhi.”

The sun is warmer here and it is not much crowed either, she added.

Photo: Amit

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