It’s time to sip the famous Darjeeling tea and enjoy the scenic Kalimpongย beauty because your favourite hill stations are now open for tourism. In fact, the neighbouring state of Sikkim is also prepping to welcome travellers by next month. By Kumar Shree

Now that two of West Bengal’s most popular hill stations — Darjeeling and Kalimpong — are open for travellers, the neighbouring state of Sikkim is also planning to do the same from October onwards.

The West Bengal government has also allowed hotels across Darjeeling and Kalimpong, to function, but of course, with strict safety and social distancing norms in place. However, the relaxation doesn’t apply to those lying in the containment zones.

“Now that the hotels have opened up we are optimistic that tourists would start arriving and the tourism industry would roll back to normal in a phased manner. We are expecting tourists soon,” Sangey Tshering Bhutia, president of Darjeeling Hotel Ownersโ€™ Association told Hindustan Times.

Tourism is one of the main sources of revenue in hilly regions, as almost 15 to 20 per cent of the local population relies heavily on the hospitality sector for livelihood. This is also one of the main factors why hotels and all sorts of other service providers are going the extra mile to implement all safety and social distancing measures.

 

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As per media reports, many hotels have decided to maintain a gap of three days between the re-allotment of rooms. They have also temporarily scrapped the buffet system. Other measures being implemented are —ย regular sanitisation of the area, compulsory masks and gloves for the staff members and temperature screening of every guest upon arrival.

โ€œAs many tourists prefer to take shared jeeps and buses to the hills from Siliguri bus stand and NJP railway station the drivers would maintain social distance among the tourists while ferrying them to their destination. They would be taking only half the passengers they used to take during pre-COVID times,โ€ Hindustan Times further quoted SN Pradhan, president of Himalayan Transport Coordination Committee, as saying.

Such steps are surely reassuring for travellers who are planning a take a trip to Darjeeling or Kalimpong anytime soon.

Related: These 5 Famous Temples In India Are Finally Reopening After The Lockdown