North and Central India have got a lot of relief from the scorching heat by the grace of Western Disturbance this mid-week as the weather has become pleasant due to hail and rain showers in most parts of northern India. This was much required as the heat was unbearable in many states and cities during the past one week. Meanwhile, the ‘Talking Points’ column, which came into being on the day of Diwali last year, has completed a six-month journey which has been absolutely full of joy and glory. The column has received the support of more than 50 newspapers in 18 states of the country, and the list includes many reputed Hindi and English newspapers of India. This daily editorial column based on developments of national and international importance is getting a lot of love from readers as well from all over the nation and abroad. In this period about 200 editorial pieces were written and published on a daily basis. I am grateful to the Almighty for giving me a new lease of life in the second wave of Covid last year. Through this editorial column gratefully dedicated to the creator of the universe, Lord Shiva, I will continue this small journalistic contribution to create awareness. Heartfelt thanks to all the learned editors and well-read readers. Continue your love and blessings like this. Your suggestions and feedback are welcome.
This summer season, the tourism industry has blossomed with the unhindered movement of international flights. While foreign nationals are coming to India for travel and work, Indian families are moving abroad for leisure and fun. This change is also being liked by the hospitality sector, as most of the earnings of big hotels come through corporate activities and foreign guests. Rapid booking of flights and rooms is going on. People who were forced to stay indoors due to the pandemic are now traveling freely in the country and abroad and are going on vacation for 50 times more days than before. Industry experts point out that advance bookings for business class seats on flights and rooms in five star hotels have doubled as compared to 2019. People who are desperate to travel are now ready to spend more than before. If this trend continues, the losses of airlines and hotels will be made up within a year.
The countries of choice for Indian tourists are France, Switzerland, Spain and the UK on the top. South Africa, Bali, Thailand and Vietnam are also welcoming fully vaccinated tourists. The hotel and tourism industry is also benefiting from the fact that people had saved their travel budget for the last two years, which they are spending now. On the other hand, hoteliers in Shimla complain that the Queen of Hills is not getting as much footfall as was expected. Contrary to expectations, tourists are staying in Shimla for only a day or two before moving on to some other destination. Due to this, the occupancy of rooms in hotels has been stuck at 70%. The people of the HP hotel association are demanding from the state government that if people are attracted to visit the tourist places around Shimla by doing vigorous publicity, then perhaps the situation can improve.
Writer is a senior journalist & columnist.