Uttarakhand hotels witness higher occupancies as Covid-19 restrictions check-out

Updated: Oct 03, 2020 12:19 PM

Even though hotel occupancies are firming up, room rates continue to be soft as many good deals are available especially for long stay travellers.

The easing of rules have come as a great respite for the tourism dependent state. (Image: Vishakha Talreja)

By Vishakha Talreja

If it wasn’t for pandemic hit 2020, it would have been business as usual for Dev Bhoomi Uttarakhand , a mecca for North India tourists during summers. It would have been a packed Mall road in Mussoorie and Nainital, rafters would have thronged Rishikesh and wildlife enthusiasts would visit Jim Corbett. But the ban on interstate travel and closure of hotels for about four months galloped the entire travel season in Northern India, dealing a severe blow to all tourism related activities.

Even though the government decided to open hill stations to tourists in August, the business remained tepid thanks to strict border checks and mandatory Covid reports. And then in the last week of September there was sudden spurt and bookings started pouring in for the long weekend coinciding with Gandhi Jayanti, thanks to the easing of travel norms.

“The Roseate Ganges, Rishikesh is sold out for all the weekends. Our drivecation packages have been well received by our guests who have eagerly been waiting to experience the wellness resort. Tailor-made packages, easy accessibility from NCR and highest level of safety and hygiene standards have worked in our favour, says Kush Kapoor, CEO, Roseate Hotels & Resorts. The homegrown luxury hotel chain owns a boutique hotel in Rishikesh, besides properties in Delhi and United Kingdom. It has been certified by Bureau Veritas and Quality Council of India for its safety standards.

Till September 23, every tourist entering the state needed a Covid-19 report and only RTPCR tests ( swab test) were valid. Those without a report had to undergo compulsory quarantine for seven nights, and had to stay a minimum of two nights to be able to book a hotel room, so the business remained slow.

Starting last week, all that a visitor needs to do is register on the the smart city portal to get an e-pass. And with that, hotel registers have started filling up.

Hill Stations too are witnessing a spurt in numbers and hotel occupancies are finally improving. “The bookings for the upcoming weekend look good. We are also getting queries from a lot of long stay guests who choose to work from the hotel. Hotels with a lot of open spaces have an edge over box-like standard buildings,” says Dinkar Singh, COO, WelcomHeritage Kasmanda Palace, Mussoorie. WelcomHeritage Hotels across the country follow standard hygiene and safety precautions and have also implemented all the local guidelines.

Another destination that has been seeing a lot of traction this month is the Jim Corbett. “Since Corbett is driving distance from Delhi we have been getting a lot of queries and bookings. We even have some queries for intimate weddings,” said Mohit Tomar, Managing Director, Acorn Hideaway & Spa.

Even though hotel occupancies are firming up, room rates continue to be soft as many good deals are available especially for long stay travellers.

“The 15th August weekend was a very busy one too and we were quite surprised. Travel to the state had just opened up at that time. Now with guidelines relaxed we are looking at a good season. Though group travel like events, school and college tours will not resume anytime soon,” explains Jatin Kapoor, an Uttarkhand based travel agent who runs a company called Alternate Atlas.

The easing of rules have come as a great respite for the tourism dependent state.

(Vishakha Talreja is a Delhi-based travel writer, blogger and lifestyle influencer. Views expressed are personal.)

Get live Stock Prices from BSE, NSE, US Market and latest NAV, portfolio of Mutual Funds, calculate your tax by Income Tax Calculator, know market’s Top Gainers, Top Losers & Best Equity Funds. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Financial Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel and stay updated with the latest Biz news and updates.

Next Stories
1Gujarat’s Gir National Park lion safari reopens, but tourists remain skittish
2IndiGo celebrating Durga Puja at six airports
3Goa’s tourism sees boom in the time of Covid! Vistara to operate more flights; Check routes, dates