Nothing has really changed on the Mall Road and the famous Ridge in Shimla. New branded stores, a revamped Gaiety Theater and perhaps some enticing eating joints is all that has changed to lure the strolling tourist here.
Warm hospitality and high spirit of Shimlaites remains unaltered, therefore tourists both, domestic and international are flocking here in numbers to enjoy the colors and weather of the Queen of Hills.
Once here, tourists have varied voices!
While some cheer in unison about the beauty and aura of the city and their stay, others (a major chunk) return with unpleasant memories, complaining ever so faintly about the deteriorating infrastructure, lack of parking space and the ever surmounting population, which has transformed the city into a jungle of concrete and has overburdened its ecology.
Nothing pleases the eye of the beholder when he glazes down in the valley or across the Ridge. Everything seems to have transformed – yet nothing, to tempt the visitor to get back here another summer.
All said and done, the tourist industry here is set for another rollicking year nonetheless.
Going by the State Tourism Department report, hotels, both privately operated and government-run are presently sold out with an amazing backlog of advance bookings. The Department is of the view that hotels will remain full at least until June.
Prospective plans of the tourism department:
In order to attract more tourists in collaboration with the HP government, the tourism department will develop tourist friendly infrastructure. It will also launch a few campaigns to promote religious tourism along with adventure and outdoor activities.
Back to reality:
Given the current scenario, there is no scope for any such improvisation in Shimla. Therefore, the plans stand good only for areas in close proximity of city.
Which brings us to the moot question? Shimla has been flowing in money for the state tourism industry since time immemorial, isn’t it time that the department and state government did something to address the silent concern of the tourists, instead of leaving the city to steadily become a flavorless tourist destination?