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Foreign tourists planning to visit Nepal changing travel plans to Darjeeling Sikkim

Foreign tourists visiting Darjeeling
Not only are tourists back to old favourite Darjeeling, overcoming fears of earthquake, the Nepal quake may have proved a boon to the queen of the hill stations as many foreign tourists planning to visit Nepal are now changing their travel plans to prefer Darjeeling and Sikkim. 

After the initial fear and also several cancellations due to the April 27 earthquake which had its epicentre near Mirik in the foothills, tourists have started coming back to the Hills, in plenty.
The prime tourist season takes off from mid-May and continues till July in the Hills after which there is the monsoon break. But, the Nepal earthquake on April 25 and the April 27 quake near Mirik and the continued aftershocks resulted in nearly 20 percent cancellation which had left the Darjeeling
tourism industry in a quandary.
However, with the ground again stable and bright sunshine back in the sky, tourists from over the country and from abroad are flocking back to their favoured destination. “We did have cancellations after the Nepal quake and the one again near Mirik. But, that is passé now as tourists are coming back to the Hills. And we believe the May-July season will go off well,” said Amit Periwal, chief executive officer of Clubside Tours and Travel, one of the premier travel company of
Darjeeling.
According to the tour operator, foreign groups who had initially planned to visit Nepal now are making their way to Darjeeling Hills. “We have several foreign groups who have diverted their plans to visit Nepal and instead are choosing to visit Darjeeling and Sikkim. We also have packed bookings of domestic visitors from the Northern and Southern parts of the country for this season,” Periwal confirmed.
The Nepal earthquake that devastated the Himalayan kingdom also broke the Darjeeling-Sikkim-Nepal circuit which had found favour with the tourists but effectively resulted in total cancellation, in some cases. “Usually, tourists make a package tour to visit these places because of the proximity to each other. However, many groups and even individuals completely cancelled their trip after the Mirik tremor on April 27. The good sign however is now these tourists want the Darjeeling-Sikkim package,” said Pradeep Lama, secretary of Darjeeling Association of Travel Agents (DATA).
Rajesh Rajak, general manager of Hotel Anand Palace said all sixty rooms of his establishment were booked for May and June. “Even when the aftershocks were being felt, we had seventy percent occupancy last week. Now that the fear factor has subsided tourists are rushing up to
the Hills and the season ahead looks bright,” he said. Substantiating the hotelier’s robust assertion, Mrinal Rana a tour guide said, “Today, I completed a Spanish group tour for Darjeeling
and Sikkim. From May 10, I will really be busy as my company has lined up several tours for domestic and foreign groups. I thing the season has picked up the pace after the initial hiccup”.
Rupak Patel and his family from Gujarat checked into a hotel today and will stay for four days before heading to Sikkim. “I heard about the earthquake but we should not fear as it cannot be predicted. I will stay in Darjeeling for four days and then go to Sikkim,” he said smiling.
The coming back of tourist to the Hills is also due to the marketing strategies being adopted by the tour operators. Fear and budget being two factors, some tour operators have assured their client refund if they found the infrastructures (road, hotels and sight-seeing spots) damaged. (EOIC)

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