Tourists looking to beat the heat; Shimla sees record footfall of 72 lakh in 2023

A combination of pleasant weather in Shimla and a heat wave across the plains is leading to a record influx of tourists into the hill station. According to the Himachal Pradesh Tourism Department, 72 lakh tourists have arrived in the region from January through May this year.

The ever-popular International Summer Festival returned this year
The ever-popular International Summer Festival returned this year. Photo courtesy: Twitter/@Amtthakur

Amit Kashyap, Director, Tourism Department, Himachal Pradesh, said that the tourist arrival has increased and the pleasant weather conditions are expected to bring more in the region in the month of June.

“Till now, around 72 lakh tourists have visited Himachal Pradesh this year. Recently, our properties in Kullu-Manali experienced 100 per cent occupancy. The demand for fixed-wing flights from Shimla to Dharamshala and Kullu has seen a surge recently,” he said. "It shows that we have revived tourism in the state with aggressive marketing and other strategies.”

The ever-popular International Summer Festival returned this year with performances from Punjabi singer Satinder Sartaj and Bollywood crooner Monali Thakur, who mesmerised the audience with their performances. Audiences danced to the music and also hummed along with the singers.

Kashyap said that on weekends in Shimla, the occupancy rate in Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (HPTDC) hotels has crossed 70 per cent. Tourists have literally headed for the hills looking for a brief respite from the scorching heat in the plains.

With the increased rush, many of the tourists are shifting to staying on the outskirts of Shimla instead of in the town proper. Satellite areas such as Mashobra, Kufri and New Shimla are getting a large share of the visitors.