Siliguri, Aug. 27: Stakeholders of the tourism industry in north Bengal today set up a forum that would approach the state government and the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha to take steps to revive tourism activities in the hills.
“Summer, Puja and Christmas are the three seasons during which the flow of tourists, mostly from our own state, is high. The time in between is dominated by tourists from rest of India, particularly Maharashhtra and Gujarat,” Raj Basu of Help Tourism said.
“We have already suffered losses because of cancellation of bookings and decline in inquiries. As the Durga Puja is drawing near, we need to put all efforts to ensure that tourism activities resume in the hills.”
Action Forum of Tourism Industry Stakeholders will write to the chief minister, Morcha president Bimal Gurung, president of the Gorkhaland Joint Action Committee, state tourism minister and north Bengal development minister.
“In a day or two, we will send the letters, explaining how the sudden halt in tourism activities is affecting all of us. We would also highlight problems faced by stakeholders at the grassroots like hotel staff, guides and drivers,” Basu said.
The Forum will also press for declaring tourism as an emergency service. “Thousands of tourists planned to visit Darjeeling during and after Puja, particularly after the disaster in Uttarakhand and fresh turmoil in Kashmir. It would not be an exaggeration to say this year Darjeeling and Sikkim were the most preferred hill destinations,” a tour operator said.