Nathiagali braces excellent tourist turnout as hotels register “full occupancy” ahead of the Ramadan
Nathiagali and the adjacent hill resorts are one of the most sought after tourist destinations in the country and the tourists are flocking the hill station as the approaching Holy month of Ramadan will be inadvertently cutting the season short.
The hotel owners and guest houses have now increased their rates two-fold citing an early end to the season due to Ramadan.
The plains of Punjab and Sindh in particular, witnessed soaring temperatures in the month of June and the increased load-shedding forced many to move to these serene hill stations and cool off their irritated nerves.
“We’ve been here for the last two weeks,” said Sajawal Butt a Lahore-based businessman, adding that it had become unbearable for his children to pass hot days with frequent power outages and the rising
mercury back home.
Shumaila Kanwal, a college professor said that her husband, a civil servant had booked a room for their family of four, where they were enjoying the beauty of the Nathiagali.
The electricity short-fall has in fact proved to be a welcome respite for the hotel-owners in Murree and Nathiagali and the street vendors have also observed steep profits in wake of the heavy tourist influx.
A hotel room which would have cost around 4000 to 6000 in the same season last year, now costs around 8000 to 15000.
“How can I pay salaries to my staff, pay utility bills? Prices have soared and the peak season has been delayed and is expected to last till the 15th or 18th of the month,” said Sardar Waheed, the owner of a guest house.
He added that a typical tourism lasts a good 50 days-running from the end of April till the middle of June. However, the season has been cut short to about 25 to 17 days, owning to a late summer and an early Ramazan.
Also the disruption of the Ayubia Chairlift due to an accident last week, also triggered mass shifting of the tourists to Nathiagali. The chairlift is back in operation despite an on-going inquiry which has not yielded any result as yet.