Kolkata, May 24 : Reeling under the impact of travel disruptions owing to the global spread of novel coronavirus, the current lockdown has hit the tourism industry in West Bengal bringing the entire operations to a grinding halt. Suspension of overseas and domestic flight services as well as cancellation of all passenger train services have severely impacted the tourism industry in the state like never before. The situation has come at a time when package tours, both domestic and international, peak during summer as the holiday season begins.
But, this time around COVID-19 pandemic has completely washed out the business of the tourism industry. This is the first time that the tourism industry has witnessed such a scenario due to the panIndia and pan-global crisis arising out of the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, says a manager of a leading travel agency in the city having several branches across the country. Usually April and May are brisk periods for the tourism industry in Darjeeling district. However, this time it has been a ‘wash out’ for the industry, says the manager of the travel agency that organises domestic and international package tours. Tourism industry circles in the city are not sure as to when international flight operations would resume in the current scenario.
Even if international services were to resume in the near future, it would still take some time as the fear of getting infected with the virus could deter passengers from travelling initially, they further say. With lockdown hitting tourism, the biggest industry in West Bengal’s Darjeeling region, some big names in hotel and restaurant business are now home-delivering food from their famous kitchens to wade through the crisis. Home delivery, the companies say, can ensure some revenue by helping them stay in touch with old patrons and meet new customers at the same time. (UNI)