Tourist spots reopen in the Hills with 75% footfall; stakeholders laud govt

Tourist spots reopen in the Hills with 75% footfall; stakeholders laud govt

DARJEELING: Tourism, hospitality and transport stakeholders have lauded the Bengal government's decision to open up tourist spots with 75 per cent of the normal footfall. Tourists trickled back on Tuesday with the spots opening up in Darjeeling.

With the COVID-19 third wave hitting this region hard, tourist spots had been closed down from January 2, 2022. However, with the improvement in the situation, restrictions have been eased. Rock Garden, Gangamaya Park, Shrubbery Park along with the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park (Pnhzp, popular as Darjeeling zoo) and the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI) in Darjeeling opened gates to tourists from Tuesday.

"There were more than 200 visitors on Tuesday. Usually the footfall is around 5000 per day. However, Tuesday being the first day and owing to a steady drizzle since afternoon the footfall was low. However, with each passing day and news of the Zoo and HMI opening for tourists, we expect the numbers to increase," stated Group Captain Jai Kishan, principal, HMI.

All COVID-19 protocol are being maintained with sanitisers being provided at different points and visitors not being allowed without masks.

Courses conducted by HMI will commence from March, stated the principal.

"With the opening of tourist spots, we have started getting enquiry calls from tourists," stated Suman Baraily, general manager of a hotel chain.

Himalayan Hospitality and Tourism Development Network in a letter to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has thanked her for opening up tourist spots from February 1 stating that the Bengal Government has been constantly maintaining a balance between life and livelihood.

Meanwhile, as Darjeeling and its surrounding areas witnessed light snowfall on Tuesday, the fifth time this winter season, temperature dipped below 0 degree Celsius.

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