Darjeeling, Sikkim optimistic of upcoming tourist season
World renowned tourist destinations of eastern Himalayas, Dareeling and Sikkim awaits a positive festive season with large portion of its capacity already booked even four months before the beginning of season. On contrary to last year, the current signs bringing cheers to the face of all in the tourism industry, one of the main income generators in the region.
“We are expecting an upbeat tourist inflow this year festive season,” said Gautam Deb, Tourism Minister of the state. “To ensure better accommodations even in remote areas, we are restructuring all home stay initiatives. Transport infrastructure is also being renovated,” he added.
Sandipan Ghosh, Secretary, Eastern Himalayan Tour and Travel Operators Association has stated, “Almost 50 per cent of all accommodations for the peak days of the season are already booked.” “Booking status for other days of the season is also very promising,” he added.
With around 12,000 bed per night holding capacity, Darjeeling and adjoining hills including Sikkim generates and estimated annual tourism business volume of around 350 crore per annum. Festive season, that contributes around 30-35% to that runs from 15th September- 15th Nov. After a short gap of almost 1 month, Christmas and year end vacation based tourist movement starts from 20th December.
“This season related tourism is of vast importance for economy of this region that does not host high density of industry,” said veteran entrepreneur and former CII North Bengal chapter Chairman P. K. Shah.
Tourism business in composite window of festive season and then Dec-Feb winter season could not remain bright for the past few years, mainly due to political disorder in Darjeeling hills. Unprecedented 104 days long strike in 2017 marked a unrepeatable dent on Darjeeling’s image in world tourism sector. Moreover, after effect of devastating earthquakes in Sikkim in 2011 and Nepal in 2015 also continued as another impeding factor