Tuesday, 30 July 2013

No flights keep high end tourists away from Kullu-Manali

Himachal Vacation Travel News
MANALI/ SHIMLA: Problems of mangled tourism industry of Kullu-Manali seems not to be finishing soon as the industry which is already suffering slump is irritating high end tourists with no flight connectivity.
Heavy to normal monsoon, cloudbursts, Rohtang pass environment issue, agitations by local traders and taxi operators have already bled the tourism here. Now suspension of flights has put Kullu-Manali tourism on back-foot. High end tourists are avoiding this beautiful hill station which is approachable only by 10-hour hectic road journey from Chandigarh and 15-hour journey from Delhi.

Saying that landing on congested runways of Kullu and Shimla could be dangerous amid heavy fog and bad weather, Air India suspended its flights till mid September. Hoteliers and those who are associated with tourism industry feel cheated by government which had resumed flights to Kullu and Shimla only for vote bank and to shut the mouth of agitating public in mid-May this year.
“We have again no flight connectivity till September. Light fog is normal thing on the mountains and flights used to land throughout the monsoon here. But what happened this year when most of the time weather is crystal clear in Kullu,” Manali travel agent association president Anil Sharma said who believes everything is going wrong in Manali. He claims that 90% of the tourists to Ladakh are going by flights only and remaining 10% are going by roads from Manali and Srinagar. “We are losing our high end clients. Why government is having difficulty to convince private airlines to give their services?”
This is peak trekking season in Himachal Pradesh and majority of clients are from abroad. Most of the foreigner guests avoid surface transport and prefer taking flights from Delhi. Travel agents claim that such clients are preferring going to Ladakh, Srinagar or North East states which are well connected by airlines.
It is again over hundred taxi operators outside Kullu airport at Bhuntar who are suffering the brunt of no flight connectivity. These cabbies have parked their vehicles outside the airport and are back to agricultural works. “Suspending of flights has led many poor cabbies to sell their cars. Similar situation was seen before May 15 when we had no passengers due to no flights,” Bhuntar taxi operators union president Deewan Singh Guleria said.

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