The economy of the tourism sector in Dooars valley in the state has been hit and there is likely to be a dip in the influx of tourists in the area during the winter and Christmas, owing to the demonetisation policy adopted by the Narendra Modi-led Central government.
According to state Tourism Minister Goutam Deb, there is an estimate that the state government will
have to incur a loss of around Rs 2 crore in the winter season this year.
Deb – who led a TMC rally against demonetisation in North Bengal’s Siliguri on Thursday – said that in last financial years the state tourism department had a profit of around Rs 4.3 crore while in the current year the department had targeted to earn around Rs 10 crore.
As per the reports of the bookings, the minister anticipates that there will be a minimum loss of Rs 2 crore, owing to the demonetisation effect.
The cash crunch has dampened the spirit of the city dwellers to organise a trip in the winter season.
With demonetisation severely affecting liquidity, holiday trips planned for the December-January period are being put on hold.
According to travel agents and tour operators in the state, the bookings for trips to Darjeeling, Dooars valley and Puri have come to a virtual halt since the sudden announcement of demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 100 currency notes by the Prime Minister on November 8. Foreign travel, too, has slowed down by about 15 per cent, according to some travel agents.
Every year, during the winter season, winter festival is observed in which tourists from various parts of the country and abroad participates in large number.
However, this year, the tourism department is not quite confident that a large amount of crowd would come to see the festival because tourists require a decent amount of cash while touring a particular place.
According to the department officials, there is a dip in the number of bungalow bookings in
various places. Unless the situation eases by the end of the month, there could be a further dip in leisure travel early next year.
Domestic travel has been more affected since they are often planned late.With people running
out of cash, holidaying is the last thing on everyone’s mind. Unless one has enough cash and easy accessibility to money, travelling is a risky endeavour.
Confirmations of hotel rooms booked in Darjeeling and across the Dooars have also come to a standstill.