Gujaratis are famous globetrotters. If you are touring the world, there are high chances of bumping into a Gujarati in any nook or cranny. While the last two Covid-infested years made travel difficult, there is one staple favourite destination of the Gujaratis is Mount Abu — winter or summer, Covid or no Covid. This hill station keeps brimming with the Gujju chirp.
This year the winter has been harsh and like every year Mount Abu has experienced freezing zero to sub-zero temperatures. But recently the temperatures touched -3 degrees Celcius along with rumours of an apparent ice build-up. However, travel agents have rubbished this as the creation of some hoteliers and a section of the media.
Even as Covid-19 cases are on the rise and they can’t go to distant places, many Gujaratis are taking off in their four-wheelers to Mount Abu. There is a veritable surge in tourist numbers, say, travel operators.
According to Rohit Thakkar, Chairperson of Travel and Tourism Committee (Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry) and owner of Navbharat Holidays, “Gujarat tourists prefer regions and cities which share the border of Gujarat just like Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. Hence, the surge in tourism to Mount Abu because of its proximity and it is the only proper and nearby hill station to Ahmedabad”.
He also pointed out that due to the recent rise in Corona cases, people are scared of booking things in advance and are opting for very last minute plans to Mount Abu.
“Since international travelling is closed and domestic travel is not advisable due to constantly changing Covid norms and cases, tourists prefer to travel in their vehicles to nearby destinations like Mount Abu as they can easily tour there around within a day. The rush is there but people are doing very last minute bookings and are avoiding travel through agencies in a big group”, said Thakkar.
Covid or no Covid, Mount Abu has always been a hot-selling destination for Gujarati tourists, “people hailing from across the economic spectrum love to tour around this hilly town,” according to Sanjeev Chajjar, Director of CK Travels.
“Mount Abu has become a 24×7 destination for tourists. Earlier, it was mostly a weekend destination but with the pandemic raging for the last two years, it has become a 365-day destination irrespective of the season,” he said.
“This hill station is celebrated by people of all colour, caste creed and financial background — from a person earning Rs 10-20,000 per month to lakhs of rupees — will be seen enjoying there. Major tourists there are from Gujarat, which contributes almost 75% of the economy there, ” said Chajjar.
He also shared that people take the winters of Mount Abu as an opportunity to enjoy the weather. Chajjar denied that there was any snow build-up in Abu. He said, “All these reports are just hype created by a few hoteliers and media personnel. “These newspaper and marketing stories are there which locals and hoteliers try to create. What I would say is that it has become a 365-day destination.”
He also gave a vital tip for tourists to Mount Abu. The Rajasthan Tourism administration is extremely strict with Covid norms. “The Mount Abu administration is fully prepared with RTPCR checks at the entry booth and the toll gate of the city. One is expected to carry a double vaccination certificate or a negative RTPCR report. Else, you need to get the tests done and quarantine in your respective hotel until the report comes.”
The administration does not want the economy to suffer but they want to secure the city as well, Chajjar says.