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Friday 16 November 2018
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Journey of HPHT from a guide to Himachal’s top travel agency

The travel agencies and agents make the backbone of the hospitality industry of Himachal Pradesh, which is the second largest source of income for the State. With the growth of hospitality industry grows the State revenues.

Though thousands of travel agencies and agents are operational in the State, some deserve special mention for their contribution in boosting the tourism industry.

Naveen Paul is one such person. Born and brought up in Shimla, Naveen had entered into the hospitality industry of Himachal Pradesh as a tour guide in Shimla’s Kali Bari during 1991 at a tender age of 14 years after his schooling from the Sanatan Dharam (SD) and Government Boys Senior Secondary School, Lalpani.

By 1996, he registered his own travel agency by the name of ‘Pal Tour and Travel’ that operated by the same name till 2001.

Thereafter, the name of the agency was changed to the Himachal Pradesh Helpline Tourism (HPHT) Pvt. Ltd.

Presently,  his business enjoys a reputation of being one of the oldest, most experienced, and fully licensed inbound and outbound travel agency of the State.

The HPHT is also serving as a General Sale Agent of the Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation.

His experience elevated him to the position of the president the ‘Travel Agent Association Shimla’ in 2008. The agency is also a member of the Shimla Airport Authority.

It’s about our expert knowledge and network of friends across the world that ensure reality exceeds expectations of our clients,

said Naveen.

He is mostly credited with the development of tourism in Kinnaur district. In 1993, there were about only 40 hotel rooms in the district. The HPHT made it a popular holiday destination for the Bengali tourists.

Indeed, the footfall of Bengali tourists in Kinnaur witnessed such a massive growth that HPHT established an office in Kolkata. Now, HPHT deals with only Bengali tourist.

As a result of this surge in tourist footfall, the hoteliers took more interest in providing facilities in Kinnaur. Currently, there are over 1,000 rooms in hotels, homestays, and guest houses in the district.

Naveen had begun his journey with a small-scale business of organizing budget tours in and around Shimla but continued to grow step by step.

Now, the agency is offering complete tour packages with wide range of services including car rentals.

We have proudly been voted the number one travel company in the area for the past twenty-five years for hospitality, services & Transport. We offer personalized attention to the leisure and business traveller and will do our best to tend to your needs,

said Naveen.

Owing to his experience in the industry, Naveen is well aware of the issues that require attention like lack of sufficient infrastructure to cater to increasing influx of tourist to the State.

Naveen recommends that the HPTDC should provide more budget hotels in Shimla (Rs.1, 000 -1,500). He holds a critical view against the trend of unregistered tourist guides openly operating without any check from the administration. They dupe the tourist and bring a bad name to the State.

Further, he said that the State government lacks a proper mechanism to address tourist grievances. There is no tourist helpline in the State where tourists could lodge complaints, he said.

A responsive grievance cell would help send a positive message to the unfortunate visitors, who face any sort of harassments while dealing with the local agents or agencies.

He believes that to harness maximum potential of tourism in Shimla, some destinations require more attention. For instance, running regular tourist buses from Shimla to Hatu Peak, Chail, Tattapani etc. would be a positive initiative for the State.

Further, Naveen insists that small facilities like regular and convenient transportation from the Bus Stands and Railway Stations do matter in the hospitality industry.



Rahul Bhandari is Editor of TheNewsHimachal and has been part of the digital world for last eight years.