Dharamshala Tourism Suffers Infrastructure Neglect – Hotel Owners

Dharamshala: Hotel owners say that the hotel business of Dharamshala and its surrounding areas is decreasing due to the lack of required and modern infrastructure for the visitors in the area. It is said that the tourism booking industry of the country is ignoring Himachal areas and the tourists are being diverted to Uttarakhand and Sikkim.

The president of Hotel and restaurant association of Dharamshala Ashwani Bamba said that the tourism industry is facing the decline in the incoming tourists for the past 4-5 years . “The room which was being rented out for Rs 2000/- in 2002 is now being booked for around Rs 500/- and so,” said Bamba. He said, “there are around 500 tourist units around Mecleodganj and its periphery, which were raised with the investment of Rs 35,000 crore rupees in past 20 years and are witnessing their worst phase.”

He said the main feature that was keeping the tourist away was the very high air fare being charged. “We are getting 5 flights daily from Delhi and the cost of one way trip goes up to 20000 or so for an hour flight, which is even higher than many international flights to neighbouring countries,” said Bamba.

He said that there is only one road connecting Dharamshala to Mecleodganj ,which is narrow and traffic gets choked out for hours during tourist session and weekends. “ we demand from government of the state and the centre to provide wider connecting roads, parking for around 8000 tourist vehicles and low cost air connectivity,” added Bamba.

Dharamshala Hotels owners talking to the media

He said , “Hotel and restaurant association of Dharamshala and its units of Chamunda and Palampur support the move of expansion of Gaggal airport of Dharamshala and demand that it should be completed in less time and the effected parties be compensated adequately and be settled in newly constructed township around Gaggal.”

Dinesh Kappoor VP of the association said,” The snow range of Dhauladhar is the beauty of the area ,be connected with ropeways to Triund in Dharamshala, Adi Himani in Chamunda, Near Palampur and near Billing ,so that the tourist could feel the touch of the snow even during summer, will attract wide range of tourists.” He added that the Pond dam lake area should also be developed for water sports and fun.”

“We are organising Tourism trade Fair TDF in Dharamshala from 1 st to 3 rd March. In this 200-250 tourist booking agents from Tamilnadu to Kashmir will participate in it. They shall be given on the spot information about the area in terms of attracting tourists, so that they can divert tourist flow towards Kangra Valley,” said Kappoor

Vivek Mahajan secretary of the association said, “ we want that government of Himachal must come forward with the new plans for next 50 years to attract tourist .”

Arvind Sharma is an award winning bi-lingual journalist with more than 20 years of experience. He has worked with Divya Himachal, Dainik Jagran, Dainik Bhasker, Vir Partap, Ajit and PTI. In 2010, he was conferred the Himachal Kesri journalism award. He reports on the Tibetan Government in Exile, politics, sports, tourism and other topics. He lives in Dharamshala.

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