Indians escaping the heat wave in the plains are running into traffic jams and water shortage in serene hill stations

Pedestrians carry umbrellas during rains, at Ridge in Shimla.Photo)(

  • Shimla, Mussoorie, Darjeeling facing traffic jams and water scarcity.
  • Hotel occupancy levels growing by 9%-10%, higher than the average.
The summer of 2019 is scorching up the country as heatwaves continue to prevail across the country. It hence comes as no surprise that Indians are heading towards hills for some respite. And, there is little to be found even there.

On Sunday, tourists were stuck in a four kilometer long traffic jam on the Manali-Leh highway. Similar instances were witnessed at other vacations hotspots like Shimla, Nainital, Darjeeling, Mussoorie, Ooty and Mahabaleshwar.

And, traffic is not the only problem. As hill stations are overcrowded, they are facing water scarcity amongst other issues. This is an emerging new trend which experts call overtourism.

“It is not surprising to witness traffic jams and overcrowding at these destinations. This has led to other issues like water scarcity, in most of these destinations as this year, the summer is extremely hot,” said Karan Anand, head of relationships at Cox and Kings, told Times of India.

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This summer, the international airfares have been extremely high too. This has increased the number of tourists heading to Indian locales.

Priyanka Kothmire, co-founder, Frotels.com told TOI that hotels are also seeing a steep increase in occupancy levels, growing at 9%-10%. The average occupancy grows by 5% each year.

Online travel portals are also buzzing with bookings. Ixigo saw a 25% jump in last minute bookings to Ladakh, Shimla, Coorg and Darjeeling. Yatra.com’s booking grew by 20%, as per Sharat Dhall, COO of B2C, Yatra.com.

Price increases are following suit too. Authorities at Taj Mahal hiked entry fees five fold from ₹50 to ₹250 for Indian nationals, and ₹1,300 for foreigners. They are also cutting down on visiting hours to deal with the overcrowding.
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