Y.S. RANA ,CHANDIGARH—JAN 30—While tourist inflow to Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab and Haryana has been increasing for the past five years, City Beautiful has witnessed a dent in tourist inflow and fortune of the hotel industry, If the number of tourists, foreigners as well as domestic, coming to City Beautiful in the first 10 months of calendar year 2013 is any indication. For the first time since 2009, the city has witnessed decline in the number of foreigner as well domestic tourists.
While the Ministry of Tourism wants the country to double the annual inflow of foreign tourist s, there has been a decline in the number of foreign as well as demostic tourists coming to Chandigarh. According to the official data between January and October 2013, about 31,925 foreign tourists visited the city against 34,130 in the corresponding period last year, 37,181 in whole 2011 and 39,343 in 2010.
So far as domestic tourists are concerned, 7.70 lakh have already visited Chandigarh in the first ten months of 2013 against 9.24 lakh visited Chandigarh from different parts of the country in the last year. While in 2011 around 9.09 lakh domestic tourists have seen the City Beautiful compared to 9.05 lakh in 2010. In 2007, 9.28 lakh domestic tourists came but their number delcined to 9.08 lakh in 2008.
It is also revealed that the occupancy level in the Chandigarh Administration-run hotels remained below the comfort level during 2013. The official of the tourism department told to The India Post that city may be turning back to a seasonal tourist destination from a conventional and corporate resort because a number of sites have been developed in the areas bordering Chandigarh that accounted for lot of recreational value.
He attributed the decline in the inflow of foreign as well as in domestic tourists was lack of concept of affordable and reasonably priced budget tourism which was readily available in surrouding areas of Chandigarh. “Most of the tourists look for budget accomodation. The Administration should try to promote this concept so that city can provide quality accomodation at affordable price to the tourists,” he added.
Chandigarh has to do a lot to catching up with other metropolitan cities. Country does not even figure in the top 20 destinations and its foreign tourist inflow is just one-tenth of neighbouring China. EOM
Upto Oct 2013 31,925