Sunday, 18 August 2013

Foreign tourists give a miss to Himalayan mountains

Himachal Vacation Travel News
MANALI: Decrease in number of foreign trekkers on famous trekking routes of Himachal is pinching the tourism industry of the state this season. Despite peak trekking season, most of the routes are wearing deserted look and cancellations of tours are continuing for coming months.
Trekking in Himachal Pradesh, India
After slowdown in domestic tourism, very few tourists from abroad are daring to visit mountainous regions in north India. Main reason is again the recent devastation in Uttarakhand and Kinnaur and suspension of flights to Shimla and Kullu till September 15. Rumors of landslides, rigorous monsoon and dozens of cloudbursts in Himachal is another reason that tourists from abroad are concerned about their safety and preferring cancellation of their Himachal visit. According to travel agents, dozens of cancellations are taking place every day.
Spiti circuit of Himachal, which is famous among foreign tourists, is most affected by sharp drop in tourists this year. Bhaba pass trek, Kanamo peak trek, Prang La treks, Pangpo, Pin Valley and Sara Umga pass are the popular treks to Spiti valley among foreign trekkers. But all these routes are craving for guests from abroad.
“There is no particular reason behind drop in arrival of tourists from abroad but we have bunch full of reasons. International media presented cloudbursts and floods in some parts of India in a way that visiting hills is not less than jumping into hell,” managing director of Himalayan Caravan Adventure, Ravi Thakur, said. According to him, very few tourists have reached Himachal this year and several jeep safari and bike tours on Shimla-Kinnaur-Spiti have already been cancelled. “Very few trekking expeditions we have got this year,” he adds.
4.8 lakh foreign tourists visited Himachal last year and 1.4 lakh foreigners visited Kullu district alone. July to September is the time when thousands of foreign tourists visit Himachal – mostly for trekking, bike and jeep safari, others for leisure, historical and cultural tours. Kasol, Manikaran, Old Manali and Vashisht are the main destinations where foreigners prefer staying in. But very few foreigners are being spotted in these locations.
“Most of the cancellations are happening at last moment as tourists are keeping track on weather conditions,” a trekking guide in Kasol, Sunil Kumar, said, adding that his customers are afraid of cloudbursts and floods. “Though trekkers have nothing to do with blockade of roads, but they are still concerned about floods and cloudbursts and also if aggressive monsoon would spoil their tour,” he said.

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