Tourist inflows to Darjeeling picks up after statehood agitation year

While around 2.5 lakh tourists had visited the two districts last year before the onset of the agitation in June, some 1.2 lakh tourists have visited the hill towns this April to June season.

Published: 19th May 2018 07:56 PM  |   Last Updated: 19th May 2018 08:15 PM   |  A+A-

In this file picture, a train of the Darjeeling Himalayan railway (DHR), also known as the Toy Train, moves along the the track on its way to the hill station of Darjeeling.(Photo| AFP)

Express News Service

KOLKATA: Nearly a year after 105-day Gorkhaland statehood agitation dried up tourist inflows to Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts of West Bengal causing massive losses to the local businesses, tourist inflows have gradually picked up this year.

While around 2.5 lakh tourists had visited the two districts last year before the onset of the agitation in June, some 1.2 lakh tourists have visited the hill towns this April to June season, according
to sources in the tourism department.

“Though the numbers are much lesser than last year but we are optimistic that more people will flock the hills as summer gets harsher in the plains,” said hotelier Raju Sharma.

Despite the lesser inflows as compared to last year, hotels in Darjeeling are still booked till the end of this season in June, sources revealed.

A three-day strike of truckers had caused some panic in the tourist industry as the transportation sector, a key segment of the tourism industry, depends on petrol brought by the tankers from Siliguri. However, the tourism doyens heaved a sigh of relief after the truckers lifted their strike on May 17.

The two districts receive tourists from across the nation but the chunk is still made by Bengalis from the plains.

Panic had set in among tourists and many of them were caught off-guard when Gorkha Janmukti Morcha supremo Bimal Gurung suddenly called a strike against alleged imposition of Bengali language last
year. Though locals prepared food for them, many tourists faced difficulties in returning to Siliguri due to
unavailability of public transport.

A year later, Bimal Gurung is in hiding and GJM has been taken over by rebel leader Binay Tamang who is perceived as close to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

Suraj Sharma, spokesperson of Binay Tamang faction of the GJM said: “Huge losses were incurred during last year’s strike. However, things have normalised and we urge tourists to visit Darjeeling in large numbers. More tourist destinations would be opened for them from October.” The hill districts also
witness a second tourist season after onset of winter from November onwards.

Stay up to date on all the latest Nation news with The New Indian Express App. Download now

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.