Gangtok, Jun 20 (PTI) The unrest in Darjeeling in the peak tourist season has come as a boon for Sikkim with tourists thronging the neighbouring hill state instead of Darjeeling in view of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha agitation.
The Sikkim Tourism secretary said that almost all the tourists who are now visiting Sikkim were supposed to visit Darjeeling on the second leg of their journey or had been there before reaching Sikkim.
“We have asked travel operators and hotels to try and accommodate as many tourists as they can without compromising on the service standards as any mismanagement at this time could give a bad name to the tourism industry,” Zangpo said.
Santanu Bose, a tourist from Kolkata, said, “We had been in Darjeeling for holidaying when all this happened. Our travel agent immediately contacted operators in Sikkim and we were lucky to get reservations.”
As the tourists from Sikkim were now being provided Sikkim Nationalised Transport buses every day with security, they are feeling secure that they will not get stuck in the hills because of the ongoing bandh.
The West Bengal government had assured them that security would be provided to Sikkim-bound vehicles and the police would carry out extensive patrolling on the highway. The 92 km long NH 31A connects Sevoke in Darjeeling district to Gangtok and is considered the lifeline of Sikkim.
Around 30 km of the highway passes through West Bengal. PTI COR NN MM LNS