GJM protest affects tourism in Darjeeling

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Foreign and native tourists stranded in restive hill city Darjeeling are troubled by indefinite bandh called by Gorkha Janmukti Morcha members.

As per reports, Darjeeling had recorded over 100 per cent occupancy in the hotels and they were full till June 30, but now most of the bookings have either been cancelled or tourists are requesting  to defer the bookings to some other time in the year. Nearly 10,000 to 12,000 advance bookings had already been made by foreign tourists.

GJM protest affects tourism in Darjeeling

A foreign tourist said, 'Did not want everything to be closed here, not ideal for tourists, but we understand the sentiments of the people.'

Another tourist said, 'We had come to Darjeeling to enjoy and relax but due to the situation here have to leave at the earliest.' The indefinite strike escalated on Tuesday and Army had to escort tourists vehicle to protect from untoward incidents.

According to reports, some tourists have stayed back even after June 8 when Darjeeling had witnessed violence which resulted in the deployment of the Army. But things have changed following the indefinite bandh called by GJM in government offices in the hills from Monday.

Not only tourists, even tourist operators equally affected by the bandh.

"The current situation in the hills is not good. It is the peak season for us. But after this unrest most of our businesses are going to Sikkim. This is a short term effect but in the long term it may have a bigger impact," Eastern Himalaya Travel and Tour Operators' Association president Samrat Sanyal told PTI.

"The saddest part is that it was after a long time that we were having a great season this year in the hills. It could have been an all time record if this unexpected situation had not cropped up," he said.

(With agency inputs)

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