The hill station of Munnar is experiencing a delayed winter with the temperature dipping below zero degrees Celsius a week after when it is considered normal in the first week of January.
On Saturday, Munnar recorded a temperature of minus 1 degree Celsius in Silent Valley, and zero degrees Celsius in Munnar town, Ellappetty, Lakshmi and Kannimala areas. On Sunday, minus 1 degree Celsius was recorded in Lokhart estate, and zero degrees in Munnar town.
It was on January 1, 2019 that the temperature had dipped to minus 4 degrees Celsius in Munnar and the cold wave was continued over 20 days. In 2018, snowfall was reported at the end of January. After the 85-year-long cold wave recorded in Munnar last year, this year, the destination is experiencing winter that is delayed by two weeks.
As the temperature dips, the tourist footfall is increasing, with people coming in to enjoy the chill.
This has meant that after a break of two years, the Munnar’s tourism is finally seeing normalcy with heavy tourist footfall in the Christmas-New Year season. Most of the hotels and resorts are almost full till last week of January, said tourism stake holders.
The 2018 floods caused heavy damage in Munnar, and the destination was isolated over one week after the flood. Following this, there was a considerable drop in tourist bookings as well. But the tourism industry stakeholders say that the situation is changing now and foreign tourists are also arriving in good numbers in Munnar.
Aju Abraham Mathew, General Manager Tall Tree Resort in Munnar said, "After 2018 August flood, for the first time, Munnar is experiencing heavy tourist rush. The hotels and resorts got full booking from December 20 to first week of January. The heavy tourist inflow shows that the destination is back to normalcy."
Winter season is considered to a favourite season in Munnar. "Normally, the temperature dips to below zero degrees Celsius during the first week of January. But this year, the winter season was delayed by nearly two weeks," Mathew said.
“The hotels are receiving good bookings, as well as enquiries and bookings from tourists who want to experience the drop in temperature. We are also expecting a good flow of tourists during the Pongal holiday,” he added.
However, while the tourism industry seems to be picking back up, the tea industry is facing issues due to the green leaves wilting due to the frost.