Solan beats Shimla to emerge as most-popular tourist hotspot in Himachal

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Himachal Pradesh welcomed over 74 lakh tourists as of May 2024, marking a 3.5% rise compared to the same period last year. Manasi Thakur, Director of Tourism and Civil Aviation, Himachal Pradesh told PTI that 32,415 foreign tourists visited the state compared to 23,174 in 2024.Interestingly, more tourists visited Solan district instead of the traditional favourite Shimla as of May 2024. Kullu recorded the highest tourist footfall at 1,497,920, followed by Solan at 1,041,074, and Shimla at 999,065. Kasauli and Chail are emerging as popular destinations within Solan, with new spots like Reva waterfall gaining popularity as they are more easily accessible.

Thakur added that efforts were underway to enhance both inter and intra-state connectivity by including heliports to ferry tourists, by improving wayside amenities, opening wellness centers, and ice-skating rinks. Himachal is also focusing on promoting eco and adventure tourism. The involvement of the private sector in developmental activities in the state is important to ensure sustainability of tourism projects and growth will be seen within three years, she claimed.

Also read: Despite adverse weather conditions 1.6 crore tourists visited Himachal Pradesh in 2023, up 6% from 2022Elaborating the increase in the number of tourists, Thakur said that the availability of homestays near major tourist hubs has expanded, particularly in areas like Kandaghat-Sadhupul, which has become a hotspot for tourists, especially from neighboring Haryana, Chandigarh and Punjab.

Himachal Pradesh attracts tourists year-round, with Lahaul and Spiti, and Kinnaur drawing visitors for their scenic landscapes, snow-capped mountains, and pristine trails. Dharamsala is renowned as the residence of Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama, while Shimla’s colonial charm earns it the title of “Queen of the Hills.” Kullu-Manali remains popular for its snow-covered peaks and adventure sports.

Also read: Chalo Manali! Tourism reopens in Himachal Pradesh after monsoon disruptions

The state also sees a steady influx of tourists visiting the “Shakti Peeths” in Kangra, Bilaspur, Una, Sirmaur, and Mandi, revered as “Chhoti Kashi” for their ancient Shiv temples. Foreign tourists and adventure enthusiasts are increasingly exploring the lesser-known regions of Kinnaur, Lahaul and Spiti, and Chamba.

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