Up­ward tourist in­flow to Bhutan brings pos­i­tive air for In­dian op­er­a­tors in East Hi­malayan cir­cuits

Bhutan Times - - Editorial - ( Cour­tesy : De­ba­sis Sarkar , The Eco­nomic Times )

SILIG­URI: After the spell of down­ward trend of tourists in­flow fol­low­ing large scale pro­lif­er­a­tion of Deadly dis­ease En­cephali­tis in north­ern West Ben­gal, tourism en­trepreneurs op­er­at­ing in the re­gion and ad­join­ing Bhutan, Sikkim or Nepal cir­cuits are now ex­pect­ing brighter fes­tive sea­son business. Up­ward trend in in­flow to Bhutan is adding con­fi­dence to the hope for the tourism de­pen­dent econ­omy of the re­gion.

Around 45% of the do­mes­tic tourists visit Dar­jeel­ing dur­ing fes­tive sea­son from end Au­gust to Mid Novem­ber con­tribut­ing a huge share to Rs 400 crore worth an­nual tourism business of the re­gion - ex­plained Mr. R Basu, veteran travel ad­vi­sor and tour op­er­a­tor.

The en­cephali­tis epi­demic pre­vail­ing in the re­gion has started di­vert­ing in­bound tourists to dif­fer­ent other des­ti­na­tion of the coun­try.

“As per rough es­ti­ma­tion, any ma­jor trou­ble in fes­tive sea­son tourism in this East­ern Hi­malayan re­gion may cause loss of business worth over Rs 150 crore,” said Mr. Ta­pas Roy, Sec­re­tary East­ern Hi­malayan Tour and Travel Op­er­a­tors As­so­ci­a­tion (EHTTOA). Nat­u­rally, “The down­ward trend started ring­ing alarm bell. But the sit­u­a­tion ap­pears to be tak­ing a pos­i­tive turn now,” he said.

The in­flow to tourists to Bhutan has be­come a con­fi­dence builder. Although con­sid­ered as a lean sea­son, May 2014 recorded the high­est num­ber of re­gional tourists this year, with 9,944 ar­rivals, as recorded by Tourism Coun­cil of Bhutan (TCB). It cor­rob­o­rates to the con­sis­tent growth of an­nual in­flow to the Hi­malayan coun­try from 28 thou­sand in 2010, to 63 thou­sand in 2013.

Ma­jor in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment projects in Bhutan in­clud­ing up­com­ing do­mes­tic air­port at Gali­phu or ca­pac­ity aug­men­ta­tion at Paro Air­port are ex­pected to give fur­ther boost to the growth in long term ba­sis too.

“At least 40% of the trav­el­ers ar­riv­ing any place in east­ern Hi­malayan re­gion com­pris­ing cir­cles of Bhutan, Sikkim, Nepal or NE In­dia com­bine up at least two cir­cles. Nat­u­rally, growth in in­flow to any place brings pos­i­tive wave for the oth­ers too,” ex­plained Mr. S. Sanyal, for­mer Se­cre­atary EHTTOA and an im­por­tant tourism en­tre­pre­neur. In ad­di­tion, almost all tourists from In­dia, the largest contributor to Bhutan’s in­bound re­gional tourist foot­fall, travel to the Hi­malayan coun­try through In­dian op­er­a­tors.

“The over­all book­ing pat­tern for Dar­jeel­ing, Sikkim or North­ern West Ben­gal jun­gle based des­ti­na­tions has started show­ing a def­i­nite pos­i­tive turn now. Hope­fully, that will con­tinue for the en­tire fes­tive sea­son,” said Mr. Basu.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Bhutan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.