Gangtok, Feb 17:
Sikkim’s tourism stakeholders are anticipating a good tourist footfall during March-April, as the northeastern state has reopened its borders for travelers following the recent shutdown.
A Gangtok-based tour planner – Phurba Sherpa shared “we are receiving a good amount of inquiries and bookings from tourists and in March-April hotels are booked and we are expecting good tourist flow this time after series of lock-down but at the same time we are also fearful that again lock-down may be imposed.”
He further informed, “Tourism stakeholders are progressively adjusting to the current circumstances while doing their best to plan for the future. However, most tourist attractions are currently closed due to snowfall, so we will have to wait until March when the season changes and snowfall ceases.”
It’s worth noting that most tourist attractions are currently closed, and the relevant authorities are refusing to provide permits to these regions for security reasons.
The Permit Cell (PI) – Kanga Tharchen Bhutia shared “We are not allowing vehicles to travel to the upper reaches for security reasons, as Sikkim has received heavy snowfall that has not yet melted, posing a risk. If the situation improves, we will allow tourist vehicles to visit Restricted and Protected Areas, such as – Tsomgo Lake, Nathula Baba Mandir, and other parts of North Sikkim, subject to a report from the Station House Officer (SHO) of these areas.”
Dzuluk valley after snowfall
“We did a trial yesterday and found out that vehicles can go to 15th mile, which is also one way, so we didn’t want to take a chance and decided not to allow tourists vehicles, but as soon as the weather improves, we will start allowing them to visit. We are also helpless because we have to wait for the snow to melt and good weather to prevail.” – added Bhutia.
He also stated that we stopped granting permits in late December owing to snowfall, which is still occurring, and that we will wait until the end of the month to resume giving permits if the weather remains decent. Local vehicles with chained wheels, as well as defence and other line department vehicles, are only authorized, informed Bhutia.