Darjeeling-the Queen of Hills in West Bengal is all set to welcome tourists from July 1

Darjeeling, the queen of hills, is all set to welcome tourists from July 1 onwards, after three months since lockdown began due to Covid-19 outbreak. The hills survive on Tea, tourism and education. Covid-19, like elsewhere had paralyzed the economy in the hills. Hotels are out of business, restaurants, shopping markets are shut because of no tourists.

Gorkha Territorial Administration (GTA), the autonomous administrative body for the hills of Darjeeling has formed a committee consisting of hotel owners, Political parties, district administration and police. In their last meeting, the committee has decided to reopen hotels for tourism purpose to revive the economy. Hotel owners are advised to strictly follow the standard operating protocols as per the guidelines of the central government.

“We welcome the decision. Tourism is the backbone of the hills. We are all concerned about the virus but the livelihood has to be saved too. The hotel owners have decided to open their doors again and people across the country are most welcome. It’s not a risk but prudent call we are taking”, said Binay Tamag, GJM leader and chief of GTA.

The tourists, however, will have to produce their fitness certificate before entering into the hills. There will be a screening of every tourist at two separate points before finally reaching the town of Darjeeling. All the hotels have been asked to be ready with the screening machinery at their entrance gate.

Kalimpong, Kurseong and Darjeeling, part of the sirene hill station has more than 250 hotels and resorts. More than 2200 feet above the sea level, the hills of Darjeeling sees footfall round the year, one of most loved destinations in India.

The tourism season there is divided in two parts- from February till June as the first quarter and the second quarter begins in September and continues till January. While the first quarter sees more than 3 lakh tourists on an average every year but the seconds quarter traditionally has seen more foreign tourists taking the total footfall above five lakhs at times.

The first quarter business is dead for this year and the aim is to help boost the second quarter by opening tourism now, even though it’s an offseason now owing to monsoons.

“Some hotels had opened up from June 8 but couldn’t sustain. We are not expecting international tourists anymore this year because booking for the same generally happens by July and there is no clarity about the resumption of international flights.

 

Story has been sourced from Times Now News