Tourists enjoying the scenery at Government Botanical Garden on Sunday
Tourists enjoying the scenery at Government Botanical Garden on Sunday

Tourists throng hill stations, but occupancy low

Even though there was heavy floating crowd, the resorts and cottages witnessed lesser occupancy than usual.

COIMBATORE: Tourists from across the state and neighbouring states thronged Ooty and Yercaud hills to ring in the New Year with celebrations.

Even though there was heavy floating crowd, the resorts and cottages witnessed lesser occupancy than usual.

“The occupancy in resorts and cottages was around 60 per cent. It was less than last year, when the occupancy was above 80 per cent as people were in a mood to celebrate after two years of COVID-19 pandemic curbs. This year though, the tourists haven’t planned a long stay due to intermittent rains and the prevailing chill weather. Low temperatures even in neighbouring states turned a dampener for tourists from Karnataka and Kerala. It led to a dip in business for the hospitality sector,” said AS Sadiq Ali, president of Ooty Cottage Owners Association.

Therefore, the much expected peak month of the second season in December turned out to be a disappointment for the tourism sector in The Nilgiris.

“In the whole of last month, only last week witnessed some steady tourist inflow to the hill retreat. Efforts should be taken by the concerned departments to promote tourism potential of this hill retreat. Traffic snarls on the Ooty-Coonoor Road due to ongoing works caused huge distress to tourists,” he said.

However, an official attached to the horticulture department said that all tourist spots in The Nilgiris witnessed huge crowds as people were in a festive mood. Of the total 24,570 tourist arrivals, around 14,685 tourists had visited Government Botanical Garden alone on New Year day. On Saturday also, 20,806 tourists visited various parks and tourist spots in the district.

“The onset of frosting over the last few days added more charm to the salubrious climate in the hills. The minimum temperature dropped to single digits over the last two days. It was just around 3.5 degree Celsius on Saturday and seven degrees Celsius on New Year day. With the end of the holiday season, a majority of tourists however packed their bags to leave the hills on Sunday, “said the official.

Similarly, tourists thronged Yercaud hills in Salem in large numbers to welcome New Year. It was also mostly a floating crowd from mainly Salem and neighbouring districts. Heavy vehicle movement led to traffic snarls along the hill stretch. In Hogenakkal in Dharmapuri district, more than 50,000 tourists descended to enjoy a coracle ride and bath in the falls.

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