Hill tourism stares at Puja losses

Tourists who planned to spend the Durga Puja in the hills and in Sikkim have started dialling tour operators to enquire if it was safe to make the trips, given the Morcha’s plan to step up its statehood agitation.

Tour operators and hoteliers, who did brisk business between 2011 and this year after a lean period since 2007, said if the indefinite strike, which will begin on Saturday, goes on beyond next week, visitors would start cancelling bookings.

This year, north Bengal and Sikkim tour operators were expecting good business, partly because the floods in Uttarakhand would have pushed mountain-loving travellers to try eastern India.

“A large number of tourists from Bengal and other states have booked accommodations in the hills of north Bengal and Sikkim because they cannot go to Uttarakhand now. This year, Darjeeling and Sikkim would have been a hit during Durga Puja. About 65 to 70 per cent of hotel rooms, both government and private, have been booked already in north Bengal and Sikkim,” said Raj Basu, the tourism advisor to the Sikkim government.

Full report here Telegraph


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