Ahmedabad, Dec 31 (IANS) In times of global meltdown, when the tourism industry in the country has been badly hit, here is some good news - the hill station of Mount Abu in Rajasthan is choc-a-bloc, with more than 45,000 tourists camping there to usher in the New Year, officials said Wednesday.
Though the administration admits that there are no rooms available in the hill town, they have been wooing tourists with a three-day festival which began Monday.
'The festival was to attract tourists with events like skating, mehndi and rangoli competitions, with majority of tourists coming from Gujarat,' Sumita Saroj, deputy director of Rajasthan Tourism, told IANS on phone.
However, even before the administration launched the festival, hotels in the hill station were already packed, officials sources said.
According to J. Alamgir, chairman of the muncipality, more than 44,000 tourists have already arrived in Mount Abu.
'From Dec 25 there has been heavy influx of tourists that touched nearly 45,000,' said Sanjay Singhal, secretary, Hotel Owners Association (HOA), Mount Abu.
The general manager of Hotel Hillock Vijay S. Khanna told IANS Wednesday that since the last 10 days his hotel, like others in Mount Abu, has been packed.
'This mammoth crowd is usual every year. After Jan 1 everything will be normal as most of the New Year party-goers would have left,' Khanna said.
'The HOA has 6,000 rooms and all of them are occupied. There is not a single paying guest facility available,' Singhal said.
'Tomorrow (Thursday) I expect a drop of 50 percent in tourist traffic,' Singhal added.
He said that 1.6 million tourists visited Mount Abu in 2008.
With heavy influx of tourists, this highest point in the Aravali range, at 5,742 feet, has also seen unprecedented security.
'The administration has made elaborate security arrangements. Besides regular policing, an extra contingent has also been deployed including an inspector, two sub-inspectors and about 100 police personnel,' Deputy Superintendent of Police Chensingh Rajpurohit said.
'This time Closed Circuit TV (CCTV) cameras have been placed at all sensitive entry points like tolnaka, Nakki Lake, Dilwara temple and other locations,' Rajpurohit said.
Hotels owners have been asked to install CCTVs at important places within the hotel premises.
'No one is allowed in the hotels without a valid identification,' Rajpurohit said, adding: 'Rajasthan Police is leaving no stone unturned to ensure security of the tourists.'