Tourism suffers in Himachal

Staff Correspondent

Fall of 50% in foreign tourist arrivals: Study

SHIMLA: There has been a sharp fall of 50 per cent in international tourist arrivals in Himachal Pradesh in the wake of the recent global economic slowdown and terrorist attacks in Mumbai. This has been revealed by a study conducted by the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI).

A spokesman of the Chamber said over the weekend that there had been a decline of more than 50 per cent in hotel reservations this past November and over 30 per cent in December as compared to the corresponding months last year. There is also a spurt in cancellation of bookings for January, he added.

He said things could go worse if no tax exemptions are given and no more corporate tours are encouraged into the State. Calling mega discount offers by the hotel industry here as a bad trend, he said the strategy really should be to create demand by dynamic pricing and offering value-based services.

The PHDCCI has demanded a reduction in tax on luxury coaches and a decrease in the road tax for all tourist vehicles. It has also suggested that the “Incredible India” campaign be targeted more aggressively to reach out to more and newer markets.

The Union Ministry of Tourism along with leading hotels, airlines and tour operators should conduct road shows in all the important source markets, the Chamber said, adding that “Visit India-2009” should be aggressively promoted by unleashing a massive advertising campaign, especially thorough Internet, and in country-specific languages such as Spanish, Italian and French.

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