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Darjeeling Sikkim emerges as top hill destinations for tourists this year

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Due to floods and other problems in Jammu and Kashmir and other hill destinations, Darjeeling and Sikkim have emerged as the top hill destinations for domestic tourists this year.Local travel agencies say there has been a sharp increase in bookings this year for Sikkim and Darjeeling. Official figures from tour operators in Siliguri show 86 per cent of bookings for October are complete. 
Tour operators in Siliguri are experiencing a profitable time this year and hotels and tourism-stakeholders are happy with the rise in business. Siliguri-based hotelier SP Singh says the peaceful atmosphere in the Darjeeling hills is attracting a large number of tourists. “We are also expecting a good inflow of foreign tourists this season as a large number of bookings have already been made,” he added. 
Tour operator Subatra Sarkar says: “The floods in Kashmir and the relatively peaceful atmosphere in the hills in the eastern Himalayas have led to a large number of visitors opting for Darjeeling and Sikkim as their preferred hill destinations this year.” Apart from Gangtok and Darjeeling, places such as Kalimpong, Kurseong and Mirik along with the Doors and Terai have also seen increased tourist footfalls this year.
West Bengal Tourism Board joint director Sunil Aggarwal also says a record number of tourists are visiting the hills and the Dooars this year. “The government has been working at turning the Dooars and Terai including the hills into international tourist destinations. After the various ongoing tourism projects in these areas get completed, visitor numbers are expected to increase further,” he adds. (HS)

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