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Tuesday, 15 September, 2020, 10 : 00 AM [IST]

Domestic tourism to gain momentum during festival seasons in West Bengal

According to a PTI report, the tourism sector, crippled by the COVID-19 pandemic, hopes to see some businesses in the upcoming Durga puja and Diwali seasons with queries from interested travellers coming in, according to officials of the industry bodies. 

Anil Punjabi, Head, Eastern Region, Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI), said that in the domestic and short-haul segments, people are showing interest. 

"There is interest and queries are coming in about destinations and safety measures, but these are yet to be translated into bookings," he said, adding that people have changed their priorities amid the COVID-19 crisis.
"There will be businesses in the Durga Puja and Diwali seasons with interest growing among people, though it is likely to be much less than what it used to be in the previous years," said Punjabi.

With people starting to learn to live with the pandemic, at least some of them are likely to start travelling with requisite safety measures, he said.

Punjabi said the tour operators are providing people with all kinds of information regarding tourists' destinations and the safety of the places.

A lot depends on how the COVID-19 situation emerges in the next few days as people would not want any cancellation.

"Bengal is a value-for-money destination and is safe also," he said, expressing hope that domestic tourists would travel during the holiday season.
The reopening of Darjeeling hills to outsiders has led to tourists making queries about bookings in different destinations there for the Puja season, according to Raj Basu, Convenor, Association for Conservation of Tourism.

"Many destinations in Darjeeling hills and Dooars forest in North Bengal are in village areas, which have around 70 per cent share of tourist footfalls," said Basu. 
 
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