Tourism organisation appeals to CM for soft loans on capital investment
Darjeeling: Himalayan Hospitality and Tourism Development Network (HHTDN) has made an appeal to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for soft loans on capital investments as a moratorium for the ailing travel and tourism industry.
"The matter has already been discussed in the State Cabinet. We are awaiting a government notification" stated Samrat Sanyal, General Secretary, HHTDN.
Incidentally the travel tourism industry had to bear the brunt of the pandemic and the lockdown, suffering huge losses.
"The trend is still grim regarding business generation and the stakeholders are in distress. Directly affected are hotels, home stays, tourist transport vehicles, drivers, guides, adventure operators, tour organizers which employ almost 50000 families in Eastern Himalaya" added Sanyal. Indirect effect is manifold.
Despite connectivity resumed from Bagdogra, the number of tourists arriving are few. "Our earnest request to the State Government and Indian Railways is to resume further railway connectivity between NJP, New Mal Junction, Alipurduar Junction station and rest of the country which can help tourists to travel" stated Sanyal.
The HHTDN has also appealed for the restoration of Darjeeling Himalayan Railway Services, specially the DHR joy rides in Darjeeling.
"Around 15 to 20 percent of tourism has been restored. We feel that if the situation does not improve many hotels, home stays, travel agencies and even restaurants in tourist dependent areas could go out of business. We are hopeful of the Christmas, New Year tourist season to bring some respite to the grim situation" added Sanyal.
The travel trade industry of this region is banking on domestic tourism and the Buddhism circuit tourism to help tide over the present situation. In this direction, HHTDN has signed memorandums of understanding with Association of Domestic Tour Operators of India (ADTOI) and Association of Buddhist Tour Operators (ABTO.)
There are around 3300 hotels in Sikkim and North Bengal. The number of home stays in North Bengal is around 2500. Every year 8 lakh domestic and 40,000 foreign tourists visit this region.