A huge number of tourists are cancelling their vacations in Darjeeling and moving towards Sikkim. This has begun after the conflict of West Bengal Govt with the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha on making Bengali language as a mandatory subject in all schools of the state. This called for a revolt in Darjeeling by GJM under the leadership of Bimal Gurung.
he discomposure in the ‘Queen of Hills’, tourists are getting harassed now and then by the protestors. Although government has given assurance for the safety of the travellers, people seem to be having no faith in that. Those who have come to Darjeeling for spending some days here as summer-retreat, those who were planning to visit the town, those who booked hotels and transport – all of them are seen to be cancelling their trip here and rushing to Sikkim.
Sikkim is now stuffed with tourists and local travel agencies seem to be extremely happy with that. They are saying that this is the busiest season they are having; even the services like transport and accommodation are running out. Almost 80% of the tourists of Darjeeling have already gone to Sikkim. This has cost Darjeeling tourism about 50 crores of loss and it’s increasing day by day. During such tourist season in the month of June, all the hotels of Darjeeling stays 100% booked. But because of the protest and misbehaviour to tourists by GJM, people are in fear of uncertain events. While some of the tourists have come back to plains, others didn’t want to spoil their trip and headed to Sikkim.
Sikkim seems to be a lot beneficiary of this troublesome situation in Darjeeling. The agencies are hoping that the income from tourism here will set a record this year. According to the secretary of Travel Agent Association of Sikkim, Mr. Vikash Gaidali, although there are a huge crowd of tourists in Sikkim, they are having no overall issue serving them. Samrat Sanyal, the Chairman of Eastern Himalaya Travel and Tours Operators’ Association, says that undoubtedly, the cancellation of trips and hotels in Darjeeling is profitable for both Sikkim and Dooars, but the agents of Sikkim Tourism want the troubles in Darjeeling to be over as soon as possible, as this would gradually effect on the tourism of Sikkim too.