Darjeeling and Kalimpong, the popular hill stations in West Bengal, are now open for tourists after a hiatus of almost six months due to the COVID pandemic. Reportedly, the neighbouring Himalayan state of Sikkim is also expected to open for tourists from October.
On September 5, the West Bengal state government allowed hotels to resume operation in Darjeeling and Kalimpong, with adequate distancing norms and other safety measures in place.
However, hotels in containment zones have not been permitted to resume operations yet.
Referring to this, President of Darjeeling Hotel Owners’ Association Sangey Tshering Bhutia said that that they are now optimistic about tourists returning to the region, and it is very likely that the tourism industry would return back to normal in a phased manner. His optimism is backed with the reason that hotels are now open and this would motivate people to make travel plans once again.
Although both the regions attract tons of visitors every year, this year was a setback because of the COVID-19 lockdown. With tourism being an important part of these region’s population as their livelihood, now is the time to look forward to it with hotels resuming businesses again.
The hoteliers, commenting on the reopening, stated that they have drawn up plans to maintain hygiene in their properties when tourists start coming in.
The Managing Director of a popular hotel shared his plan on how they will try to keep the property sanitized. He shared that once a guest checks out of their room, they will sanitize it and keep vacant for at least three days before allotting it to another guest. Then, they will make sure that the visitors undergo temperature checks; there would be no buffet system and all hotel staff would be wearing masks and gloves too. He also assured that hotel premises would be sanitized regularly.