Friday, September 18, 2009

Chinese incursions to hit Sikkim tourism

Gangtok, Sep 17- Travel agents in Sikkim are a worried lot, as they fear a dip in domestic tourist arrivals in the state following the tension that prevails after reports of Chinese incursion and aggression along the international border.

From the tourist point of view the tourism movementthere seems to be lot of fear amongst the countrymen especially the domestic tourists because no body likes to go to a war zone, said Satish Bardewa, proprietor, Yak and Yeti Tour and Travel.

In January 2009 at least 27,138 domestic tourists arrived in Sikkim, while in February around 32, 038 tourists arrived in state, an increase of 7,883 as compared to the corresponding period in 2008.

However, travel agents said that the number of bookings have declined in September.

Well, to me it looks like the response has really come down, the enquiry response has really come down because by September this time we had lot of bookings for October and November and even the hotels in Sikkim are not very well booked, said Lukendra Rasaily, General Secretary, Travel Agent Association of Sikkim (TAAS).

In the recent days, there have been multiple reports of Chinese incursion along the international border, and earlier, two paramilitary personnel of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), the sentinel force along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) were reportedly shot from the Chinese side.