Heavy rains have not only led to water logging and traffic chaos but also turned out to be a dampener for tourists planning to visit scenic resorts across the state. At resorts run by the Maharashtra State Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC), more than 30 bookings have already been cancelled. Even as Malshej Ghat had emerged as the most popular tourist attraction in the state this monsoon, dozens of bookings have been cancelled at MTDC resorts in Karla, Lonavala, Malshej, Mahabaleshwar, and Matheran.
Due to abundant rains this time around, these weekend getaways were avidly sought after. Tourists from mainly Pune, Mumbai and Nashik flock to these MTDC resorts and according to officials, bookings for the next two months were full at Malshej, Bhandardhara, Matheran, Karla, Chikaldhar and Tadoba. However, heavy rains this week and the fear of landslides have played spoilsport as tourists are now wary of venturing out to these places.
A landslide at Malshej Ghat had led to the death of a truck driver and the road was shut for several days. Boulders crashed for the third time this season at Malshej Ghat, which is a vital link to Mumbai and other parts of the state. Last month too, the route had been shut for 10 days after boulders crashed and blocked the road. Landslide alerts along the expressway and at Satara and Mahabalesh-war have led tourists to exercise caution and cancel bookings.
Satish Soni, state director of tourism told The Indian Express that several tourists had requested to defer their booking date. “We had requests to cancel the bookings as tourists fear landslides due to heavy rains,” he According to MTDC officials, there have been six cancellations at Karla MTDC resort at Lonavala, seven at Mahabaleshwar, nine at Matheran and five at Malshej. “Some tourists have cancelled registrations this weekend, while others have also decided against travelling to the resorts during the long weekend of August 13-15,” Soni said, adding that the whole amount would be refunded. On the other hand, MTDC officials have assured tourists that they can defer their bookings. “We do not see a great dip in the number of bookings and only these two weekends have seen some tourists changing their travel itineraries,” an MTDC official said.