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2nd wave dampens tourism across state

2nd wave dampens tourism across state
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Kolkata: A year after last year's lockdown, the tourism industry is back to square one as the second wave of Covid continues to adversely impact the country. Even as the hotels and guest houses are open this time, the tourist influx at various sites has dried up.

Not just the Hills — which are the most-preferred destinations during summer — sea beach destinations like Digha and Mandarmani are also wearing a deserted look.

"The tourism industry went through its worst phase during April-May last year and the effect continued till July. From September, the scenario improved and from November till Doljatra (ends of March), the business was satisfactory. Since April, there have been only cancellations. By February-March, we received 50 per cent bookings for May for destinations like Darjeeling, Lamahatta, Lepchajagat, Lava, Lolegaon, Rishop, Sillerygaon, among others. More than 90 per cent of these bookings have already been cancelled," Sandipan Ghosh, general secretary of Eastern Himalayas Travel & Tour Operators' Association said.

Ghosh said business in January-February this year was 20 to 25 per cent more in comparison to the corresponding months in 2020.

"The situation is such that we travel agents are discouraging tourists to take up travel at this juncture considering their safety with the Covid situation turning extremely grim throughout the country. There have been a handful of queries for hill destinations like Nainital, Ranikhet and Kashmir, where tulips are a major attraction in May. But, the tour operators are suggesting that people should first fight the pandemic and travel only after the situation improves," Nilanjan Basu, General Secretary of Travel Agents Association of Bengal said.

Puri, one of the most-preferred destinations for Bengalis, is also recording negligible tourist footfall as the Jagannath Temple is shut till May 15.

"We are following guidelines like sanitisation and compulsory wearing of masks," Bipradas Chakraborty of Digha Shankarpur Hoteliers Association said.

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