Darjeeling fears quake will hit tourist season | kolkata | Hindustan Times
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Darjeeling fears quake will hit tourist season

The tourism sector is jittery as people who had made plans to visit Sikkim next month are now having second thoughts about their trips because of the earthquake on Sunday.

kolkata Updated: Sep 19, 2011 23:19 IST
HT Correspondent

The tourism sector is jittery as people who had made plans to visit Sikkim next month are now having second thoughts about their trips because of the earthquake on Sunday.

Tour operators were busy on Monday, answering calls from apprehensive people enquiring about how safe it would be to visit Sikkim now.

"We were supposed to go on a trekking trip from school this Friday to Sikkim, but talks are on that the trip may get cancelled. But even if it is not, I think most of my friends and I will have to back out because our parents are in two minds," said Ridhima Tewari, a class 9 student of Ballygunge Siksha Sadan.

Sanket Singhi, director, Air Infinity tours and Travels, said: "Ever since the TV channels started flashing the news of the earthquake in the evening, we began to receive calls asking whether their planned trips to the northeast hills stood cancelled."

"The hills earn from the tourism sector in a major way. Though I don't see too many tours being cancelled during the pujas, in the next seven days those who had Sikkim on their travel itinerary will avoid the place. Sikkim without tourists for a whole week means loss of lakhs," Singhi added.

Though not many trips have been cancelled, there are a superstitious few who will seriously consider not going now, said experts from the travel industry.

"The quake has marred the plans of the holidaymakers who were looking forward to a trip to the place," said Asit Biswas, director, Help Tourism Private Ltd, which operates in Kolkata, Siliguri, Darjeeling and Guwahati.

"North Sikkim, which was the epicentre of the quake, is badly hit. District headquarters Mangon, through which one can reach Lachung and Yumthang, two major tourist attractions, is closed. So for a few days at least the places will be closed though other areas are safe to go to now," Biswas added.