Himachal Pradesh Records 7.4 Million Tourists By May; Solan Tops In Visitor Numbers

The surge in tourist numbers can be attributed to several factors, like the growth of homestay options and enhanced accessibility in once-remote areas
Tourists on Ridge Road in Shimla
Tourists on Ridge Road in Shimlamrinalpal/Shutterstock

In Himachal Pradesh, the tourism industry is thriving, with over 74 lakh tourists visiting the state by May of this year. This marks a 3.5% increase compared to last year. Solan district has emerged as the top destination, surpassing even the famous hill station of Shimla, the capital of Himachal. Popular destinations such as Kasauli and Chail are experiencing a surge in popularity, while lesser-known spots like Reva Waterfall are drawing travellers. Among the factors that have led to the increase in numbers are the expansion of homestay options and improved accessibility in erstwhile remote areas.

According to Manasi Sahay Thakur, the Tourism and Civil Aviation Director, the state received 7,464,184 tourists, including 32,415 foreign tourists, by the end of May. This reflects a 3.5% increase from the 7,202,956 tourists, including 23,174 foreign tourists, during the same period last year (PTI).

Thakur informed the PTI that efforts are being made to improve both inter and intra-state connectivity through the construction of heliports. There is a major focus on infrastructure development, including the creation of wayside amenities, the opening of wellness centers, the construction of ice skating rinks, and the promotion of eco and adventure tourism with funding from the Asian Development Bank (ADB). She added that private players are also engaged in advance to ensure the sustainability of tourism projects and that the results will be visible in the next three years.

When Solan Overtakes Shimla

The number of tourists visiting Solan district has exceeded that of Shimla. According to the data, the highest number of tourists visited Kullu (1,497,920), followed by Solan (1,041,074) and Shimla (999,065). Thakur stated that Kasauli and Chail are the most popular destinations in Solan district. The tourism department has added new destinations to the tourism maps, such as the Reva waterfall in Solan. She also mentioned that people preferred easily accessible destinations within short distances.

Tourists around the historic Christ Church in Kasauli
Tourists around the historic Christ Church in KasauliYogesh Kumar Saxena/Shuttersock

Environmental Concerns

The increase in tourists could also be a cause for concern as often it has been seen that the fragile ecosystems of the hills and mountains are unable withstand such numbers. In May 2024, in response to the rising influx of tourists in the Lahaul Valley in Himachal Pradesh, the state government had formed a committee led by the Director of Tourism to promote safe and sustainable tourism in the region. This initiative aims to protect the valley's delicate ecosystem, which has been under increasing pressure since the Atal Tunnel opened in October 2020. The Atal Tunnel has significantly boosted tourism, drawing many visitors to Sissu and Koksar for snow activities. The surge in tourist numbers has raised environmental concerns, with experts warning about the region's limited capacity.

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