State Affairs

Disturbances in Nepal ‘hit’ Sikkim tourism

GANGTOK

The devastating April 25 earthquake and subsequent petroleum shortage that has prompted foreign tourists to cancel their trips to Nepal has severely affected the tourism industry of India’s north-eastern state of Sikkim.

Travel trade entrepreneurs here said they have witnessed a significant fall in tourist inflow in this peak season. Of the total adventure enthusiasts coming to Sikkim, 70 percent travel via Nepal, reports Kathmandu Post.

“Tourist arrivals here have slowed down significantly due to disturbances in Nepal,” said Surendra Kumar Pradhan, managing director at Siniolchu Group.

“Every time when Nepal sees a problem, its spill over effect become visible in Indian Himalayan destinations.” Pradhan said annually 20,000 foreign tourists travel to Sikkim via Nepal.

Likewise, Sikkim is also a popular destination for Nepali tourists. More than 10,000 Nepalis visit Sikkim annually.

Meanwhile, Sikkim is likely to get its first airport next year. Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Chamling said 80 percent of the physical work has been completed. “The airport will provide a direct connectivity to the land-locked state and also help boost tourism,” he said, speaking at the 4th International Tourism Mart in Sikkim held on Thursday. “Small aircraft like ATR can land at the airport.”

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