Covid-wary citizens opt for off-beat tourist destinations in North Bengal during this Puja

Covid-wary citizens opt for off-beat tourist destinations in North Bengal during this Puja

Kolkata: Off-beat destinations in North Bengal and Dooars have emerged as the most sought after destinations for Bengalees during this Durga Puja holidays with the tourism sector gradually reviving post the second wave of Covid.

"Group tours have been a trademark of the Puja bookings during the pre-Covid period. But now, we are witnessing that travellers are preferring customised tours rather than travelling in groups which is a clear indication that they are focussing on safety aspect with the pandemic situation still continuing, but under control," Amitava Sarkar, General Secretary of Travel Agents Association of Bengal (TAAB).

Sarkar said that the homestays at destinations like Kolakham, Rishikola, Lamahatta, Jhandi, Sillerygaon etc are almost full till November. "So it is obvious that people are preferring to stay in lonely places where they can get personalised treatment," he added.

However, Sarkar said that considering pre-Covid times with a month to go before the Pujas, the number of enquiries presently would stand at 35 per cent while booking will be to the extent of 25 per cent.

West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation Ltd that has 32 resorts spanned across different districts in the state is also getting bookings for its properties at Jaldapara, Tilabari and also for Digha and Santiniketan.

"We have put up a list of homestays on our website which are also getting booked at a rapid pace," an official in the state Tourism department said. "At least 60 per cent of the properties have already been booked and we are getting many queries everyday for the Puja holiday bookings. There have been a lot of restrictions on international travel so people are travelling more within the state," Biswajit Das, Joint Secretary of Dooars Tourism Development Forum said. Apart from Dooars and North Bengal, Purulia is also another sought after destination.

Among destinations outside the state, tourists from Bengal have made bookings for Tripura, Gujarat and Leh Ladakh.

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