December 23, 2016
Udhagamandalam: With a welcome wetness setting the tone, the annual Christmas and New Year tourist season has commenced in this holiday destination.
Starved of water owing to a shortfall of about 60 per cent in the annual rainfall, Ooty residents were keeping their fingers crossed and hoping that at least the end of the year would be better. With both the south-west and north-east monsoons playing truant, the water situation was being watched closely by both officials and people.
Expressing hope of getting more rains, Joint Director of Horticulture N Mani told The Covai Post that the recent spell had benefited tourist spots like the Government Botanical Garden (GBG) and Sim’s Park which were getting ready for the summer of 2017.
Pointing out that on an average about 4,000 tourists visited the GBG every day, he said the number was much more on weekends. The inflow is expected to pick up as Christmas and New Year get closer, and continue to be good till Pongal. Tourists from North India and foreigners preferred this part of the year to visit the Nilgiris.
Regretting that this year the fortunes of tourism dependent sectors were fluctuating severely, N Chandrashekar, Secretary, Nilgiri Hotels and Restaurants Association, said that the Cauvery inter-state dispute, demonetisation and the demise of former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had hit them hard. He added that all those in the hospitality and travel trades were looking forward to the year-end tourism to cover lost ground. The enquiries for rooms were encouraging. Many of the hotels were getting ready to organise special programmes.
Cake-mixing ceremonies, carol services and the like are also accentuating the Christmas spirit.
Tourists who are regular visitors during December/January said that the hill station atmosphere is best savoured during winter.
“We can go about our business in a leisurely manner,” they added. The warm days and nippy evenings cannot be experienced during any other part of the year.