No snow, no tourists for hill stations in the north. Here's what IMD predicts | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

No snow, no tourists for hill stations in the north. Here's what IMD predicts

Jan 26, 2024 09:49 AM IST

Travel service providers in north India enjoyed a surge in tourists during winter but saw significant booking cancellations owing to less snowfall this year.

Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand – the top tourist destinations in India during winter – are likely to see a cutback in the number of visitors this year, as people are giving a second thought to their planned tours following an unexpected snowless winter. The tourism industry is up for taking the brunt after several tourists have reportedly cancelled their bookings as they find themselves low on spirit to hit the hills, only to see them less white this year.

View of the snowless meadows of ski resort, in Gulmarg. (PTI)(HT_PRINT)
View of the snowless meadows of ski resort, in Gulmarg. (PTI)(HT_PRINT)

According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), only a few places in the Western Himalayan Region will experience light to moderate rainfall or snowfall till the end of this month. In two months, the MeT also recorded a substantial rainfall deficit in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. In December, Jammu and Kashmir experienced a 79% deficit in rainfall, which turned up to 100% by January 24. The rest of the states received a 99% rainfall deficit this month till January 24.

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Also read: In Nepal, a worrisome decline in snow and rainfall this winter

Travel service providers and tour operators, who enjoyed a surge in tourists around this time, are left with uncertainty following a significant number of booking cancellations. According to Economic Times, Bollywood film shoots have been shelved for the time being, and there has been a slew of cancellations by skiing enthusiasts.

A board member of a tourism federation told the English daily that no booking for film shooting, which takes place in Gulmarg and Sonmarg around February and March, has been made so far.

According to a tour operator in Srinagar, quoted by ET, there is nearly 80% less work this year compared to the last. Only in November last year was there a snowfall in Gulmarg for about five to six days, and the place has been arid ever since.

A resort owner in Manali pointed out that the lack of snowfall is also affecting local agriculture and horticulture. A member of another tourism association said the business had been impacted so much that it won't revive for this year even if it snows now since the holiday season is over.

According to an IMD official in Srinagar, the valley has been experiencing intermittent dry spells in the last few years. But, this year's dry spell has been extremely long, surging the temperature to at least six to eight degrees Celsius. However, this situation could be broken by a possible emergence of a western disturbance in the next few days.

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