Tribune News Service
Solan, October 24
Hotels in the Kasauli planning area are back in business with tourists thronging the popular hill station during the festive season. However, a shortage of staff is making it difficult for the hotels to handle the flow of visitors.
The hoteliers had initially called their employees in phases owing to a gradual increase in business, but now some of the employees were refusing to return to work. “Some employees are reluctant to join duty, as they have taken up other jobs such as agriculture on their own land. Also, the Covid scare is dissuading them from returning to work,” says Rocky Chimni, vice-president of Kasauli Residents and Welfare Association.
As the hotels have not hired causal staff for months, they are finding it difficult to meet the requirements of the rising tourist rush. “Some hotels are refusing bookings, as they have limited operational rooms due to the paucity of staff. We are trying to breakeven, and are forced us to work with the limited staff to meet the overhead expenditure. Though business has picked up, it will take time to make up for the losses incurred during the six-month lockdown,” adds Chimni.
Benefits such as exemption from demand charges on electricity bills are not available anymore, and banks have started demanding loan repayment up to March, either in five installments or in lump sum. Hoteliers are demanding the extension of exemptions for some more months. They say that the monthly GST payment should be made quarterly for the next five to six months.
The hotels in the area have witnessed 40 to 75 per cent bookings this month, though there has been a slight decline during the Navratras. Business is brisk on the weekend due to a huge rush of visitors. “After a long time, markets are alive with tourists, and this has helped us make some gains,” says Pradeep, a local trader.
“A majority of tourists are careless and do not even wear masks. This can lead to the spread of Covid-19,” he says. The police should challan tourists who do not wear masks, says Pradeep.