Darjeeling tourism faces uncertainty over political unrest

Published on : Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Darjeeling tourismDarjeeling hills are doubtful about its winter tourism business caught between the recent political tensions between the centre, state and local political forces.

 

“We are uncertain about winter season business in Darjeeling hills though the demand trend was highly favourable before the onset of the disturbances,” said few tour operators.

 

According to Samrat Sanyal, the President, Eastern Himalayan Travel and Tour Operators Association, winter season contributes a major chunk of Darjeeling’s Rs. 350 crores worth average annual tourism business bringing in premium class adventurers and other special interest tourist groups.

 
Sanyal said, “It will be difficult serving these groups in the imminent chaos in case those pop up. We may have to cancel or divert these bookings while absorbing heavy losses.”

 

The current situation is the result of recent political developments. After over 100 days long bandh in the hilly region, athough the situation has started to get back to normal, the political fire is still burning. The Trinamool Congress, which is the ruling party in the state, has launched a manhunt for Bimal Gurung, who is absconding.

 
On the other side, the BJP, which is an ally of the GJM, is trying to encash pro-GJM sentiment by opposing TMC’s stance.

 

Meanwhile, the United Kingdom, the largest contributor to Darjeeling’s winter inbound tourists, is proceeding with caution for British citizens travelling to Darjeeling region. The US Consul General Craig Hall said, “We are also keeping a close watch on the situation. Hope things will get back to normalcy soon.”

 

At ground level, tourism in Darjeeling is keeping its fingers crossed. Under these circumstances, many are focusing on Bhutan as alternative.

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