Cash registers are ringing at the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway and Bengal Safari Park, courtesy tourist rush.
Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) — a world heritage site recognised by Unesco — is drawing tourists in droves who are boarding the toy trains, particularly joy rides between Darjeeling and Ghoom.
In May this year, the hill railway recorded the highest number of footfall in a month in the history of the DHR that was set up in 1881.
“Last month, 30,303 passengers boarded the toy train, the highest ever number in one month since the inception of the DHR. Such a rush helped us earn Rs 3.57 crore in the month,” said Priyanshu, the DHR director.
Sources said the earlier highest number was in May last year when 26,909 passengers had taken toy train rides. “At that time, the earning was Rs 3.19 crore,” the official added.
Sources at the one-of-its-kind open-air zoological park in north Bengal on the outskirts of Siliguri said it was drawing a huge number of visitors these days.
“We have earned Rs 5.65 crore in the current fiscal (2022-23). This is a massive increase in comparison to the earnings of the previous financial year (2021-22) when the earning was around Rs 1.76 crore,” said Rahuldev Mukherjee, the assistant director of the park.
From April last year to March this year, the park recorded a footfall of 2.87 lakh, which is also a record as compared to earlier years.
“Despite the scorching heat now, hundreds are visiting the park and weekends are crowded,” he added.
On Saturday, Mukherjee said, 1,229 visitors came to the park.
Usually, 10 air-conditioned buses, each a 22-seater, are used for safaris. "On Sunday, we arranged extra buses for safaris,” said Mukherjee.