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With strong possibility of a white Christmas, around 50,000 tourists are expected to reach Kullu-Manali at this time, sources said.
If you are planning to visit Kullu-Manali during Christmas or New Year eve, make sure you have booked hotel accommodation and flights to India in advance. Otherwise, you may end up spending the chilling nights on roads.
With parking places of Manali already jam-packed, hotels are getting unexpected bookings two weeks before the Christmas as recent snowfall has proved a tourist puller for Manali, sources said. About 50% of total bookings have come following fresh snowfall. Almost 60% hotel rooms are already occupied and 75% hotels are fully booked after December 22, they said.
“Snow is like a magnet that attracts tourists towards Manali and brings smiles to the hoteliers,” owner of Royal Regency hotel, Devender Verma, said, adding that 80% rooms of hotels are already booked between December 20 and January 3.
Hotels in Manali are organizing bonfires, DJ parties and gala dinners on Christmas and New Year eve to entertain the tourists. Though they are offering no discounts to customers, tourists are booking packages after weighing details about services offered, sources said.
Owner of Holiday Cottages, Roshan Thakur, said that whether it snows or not during the Christmas week, tourists will have a feel of the cold environment with lots of snow already in the backdrop. “Candle light dinners in apple orchards, disco, bonfire, special flower decoration, etc., would be provided to the guests to make their New Year memorable. Packages are selling like hot cakes,” he added.
Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation hotels are also having good business in Manali. Deputy Director of the corporation, B N Kapoor, said that all hotels are having good business and occupancy rate would double after Decemeber 20. “The snowfall has rejuvenated tourism industry in Manali. Advance booking for Christmas and New Year has picked up pace. Christmas Queen Contest and other programmes are being organised at Club House, Manali on Christmas eve,” he added.
According to travel agents, enquiries about Christmas and New Year flights to India and hotel packages for Manali are higher than any other hill station. “Tourists are likely to face problems in on-the-spot hotel booking as most hotels are already booked. The travel agents association has estimated the number of tourists reaching for Christmas at around 50,000,” owner of Friends Travels, Inder Singh, said.