HP tourism industry into crisis due to exorbitant airfare
The exorbitant airfare of around Rs 20,000 from Himachal Pradesh’s three airports to Delhi are proving to be a major deterrent for tourists as well as locals as road trips is all that they are left with in the end.
Air tickets to Bangkok and Dubai are cheaper than any of the three airports in the state from Delhi. Moreover, the state is connected by air only to Delhi and no other destination, barring a flight to Chandigarh from the Bhuntar airport in Kullu.
The launch of the much-hyped subsidised air travel from the state capital to Delhi by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 27 last year has turned out to be a non-starter. Only six to seven seats in every flight are available to passengers under the Udaan scheme for about Rs 2,000.
“The flight from Jubbarhatti is very erratic and the highly inflated fare of about Rs 20,000 has deprived the tourism industry of the benefits of good connectivity,” said Deepak Sood of Ambassador Travels.
The airfare on the Dharamsala-Delhi route from the Gaggal airport in Kangra is Rs 20,000.
“We have been demanding since long that airfares in Himachal be subsidised on the pattern of Jammu and Kashmir and Northeastern states as people prefer to travel abroad than Himachal, where there are arduous land journeys,” said Sajeev Gandhi, general secretary of the Dharamsala Hotels and Restaurants Association.
It is only the Bhuntar airport which has a flight, both to Delhi and Chandigarh. While there is a flight to Delhi all seven days, the one to Chandigarh is six days, barring Sunday. Even though Kullu-Manali remains high on the priority of tourists, the high fare of Rs 20,000 to Delhi and Rs 9,000 to 12,000 to Chandigarh is again affecting the tourist influx.
“The airfares are out of the reach of the locals totally and it is only the high-end tourists who can afford these,” said Bhupender Thakur, patron, Kullu Travel Agents Association.