Hills tourism takes a hit

Those who have booked holidays in Darjeeling and Sikkim during the Puja vacations are a worried lot, thanks to the agitation by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM).

Tour operators are keeping their fingers crossed and have appealed to all political parties to spare the tourism industry during agitations as a sizeable population from the Hills earns its living from it. With the US and UK issuing travel advisories to their citizens, asking them to be careful before planning trips to Darjeeling, the crisis is likely to worsen.

“Even now, though it is off-season, there were 30-35% bookings from students and corporate houses. All have been cancelled. Bookings for the Pujas had just started. This year, there was a lot of interest from people outside Bengal as the West Bengal tourism department is holding road shows in several states. Not only have the number of bookings come down, we are being asked by tourists what they should do. We have no answers. Last year and the first half of 2013 were very good as far as tourism is concerned. We had hoped for a very good season with Uttarakhand remaining out of bounds and renewed trouble in Jammu and Kashmir,” said Tapas Roy, secretary, Eastern Himalayan Tour and Travel Operators’ Association ( EHTTOA).

Full report here Times of India


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