Last week, after the government allowed tourists from all over India without any restrictions, the small business owners of Dharamsala were happy. Small hotels and restaurants saw a much needed economic relief due to the incoming tourists in the city of Dharamsala.
The 3-day long weekend was the perfect time to visit Dharamsala since people from neighboring city-states such as Punjab and Delhi found Dharamsala to be easily accessible. Also, the weather conditions are perfect since it is neither hot nor cold in the hills of Dharamsala.
Hundreds of tourists were seen entering Dharamsala and nearby tourist spots. A large number of these tourists were from Punjab and Haryana. After a long lockdown period, the much needed short term vacation brought these people to Himachal. Most of the incoming tourists travelled through their own vehicles since it is relatively safer than other public transportation methods.
The big hotels and restaurants have not seen much success with the new wave of tourists entering Himachal. Most of the tourists opted for small hotels and restaurants as the tourists seem not to spend too much on luxury hotels and restaurants. The tourists were seen to be on a low budget and were keen on choosing places that were easy on their pockets.
As per the safety protocols, all the hotels must operate with 30 percent occupancy. However, for the big hotels, this is not sustainable for them at all since they have to pay salaries to their staff which is higher than that of a regular small hotel. Also, the procurement of the food and the preparation cost of the food items require specializations which in turn requires high tariff rates to be charged from the customers. As of now, people are not spending too high on their vacations considering that there is an economic slowdown throughout the world.
However, on the bright side, the small restaurant owners and tea shops situated on the highway have seen a good recovery. Shops near Bhagsu waterfall are currently full of tourists and the small shops are seeing a good sale in their products and services.
Many homestays got to see a small surge in the number of tourists booking their rooms in Dharamkot. Dharamkot is a favourite tourist destination among the foreigners and has been closed since the beginning of the lockdown in March.
Hotels in Mcleodganj has also seen a rise in the number of bookings. However, the total occupancy that is allowed as per the government protocols is 40 percent. Without foreign tourists, it is very hard for businesses to see any significant sign of recovery. Usually, the foreigners visit Mcleodganj for the teaching of the Dalai Lama.