Kolkata, Oct 4: Like previous three years, the number of tourists visiting West Bengal during Durga Puja festival has seen a significant increase, going by the bookings made by private tour operators and hoteliers.
Anil Punjabi, eastern region chairman of the Travel Agents Federation of India said that the trend of increased tourist footfall in the state during the festive season had been seen for the last three years.
"This year too the bookings have been very good," said Punjabi. He said that the steps taken by the state government to boost tourism in the state by attracting tourists have borne fruit.
"Duja Puja is the biggest festival in the eastern part of the country attracting more tourists," Punjabi said.
Apart from the community Durga Puja pandals, the tourists also flock to popular hot spots like Darjeeling and the forests of Jaldapara, Dooars and Gorumara.
In south Bengal, the Sunderbans, home to the world's largest mangrove forests, too attract a large number of visitors. "We are coming up with various tour and tourism packages.
We are hoping that this time too the tourism industry in Bengal will do good business during Pujas," a senior official of Tourism department told PTI.
Punjabi noted that the reverse tourism also flourished during the festive season with Sri lanka and Greece turning out to be the top draws.
Karan Anand, head of relationships, Cox & Kings, more than agreed, saying, "We feel there will be 20 per cent increase in the number of outbound tourists fropm Bengal."
He said that destinations like Greece, Turkey, South Africa and Spain are the favourites while in the domestic sector Kashmir, Kerala are the top draws.