Darjeeling looks to Rajinikanth to draw more tourists

Darjeeling looks to Rajinikanth to draw more tourists
DARJEELING: A good tourist season and the arrival of Superstar Rajinikanth to shoot a yet-to-be-titled film has put Darjeeling back in spotlight this summer. Last year too, the hills were in the news at this time, but for the 104-day Gorkhaland agitation that shut down the region. 

Banners and posters welcoming ‘Thalaivar’ (leader or boss in Tamil) have been strung up along the road to Darjeeling. Hoteliers, too, are making sure guests know there’s a star in town. “Friends running hotels are informing their guests about Rajinikanth and his shooting schedule. Banners have also been put up to grab attention,” said Sarin Rai, who runs a hotel in town.


Rajinikanth is going to be in the hills for a month, and tour operators are hoping the bumper April-June season will stretch a bit longer. “This season has been great. All my rooms are full and I have had to turn away guests. Now that Rajinikanth is here, I expect the holiday season to continue till the end of June as tourists will want to catch a glimpse of the megastar,” said Rai.


A year ago, the hills were on the boil with a demand for statehood. Rallies were organised every day, and clashes between people and police were common. Thirteen people, including a policeman, died and government properties were set ablaze. The strike was withdrawn in September but tourists gave the hills a miss during the Puja festival and November-December winter season, dealing a blow to the local economy. “June 2017 was a nightmare. Now, things have returned to normal,” said Bharat Mangrati, a private firm employee.


Cab and car rental companies are doing brisk business and are looking forward to a busy Puja and winter season. “The season is nearly at an end but there is still a rush. We are hoping it will remain like this so that everyone benefits,” said Pushkar Tamang of United Transport Motor Syndicate. 

TOI
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A good tourist season and the arrival of Superstar Rajinikanth to shoot a yet-to-be-titled film has put Darjeeling back in spotlight this summer. Last year too, the hills were in the news at this time, but for the 104-day Gorkhaland agitation that shut down the region.

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