Gangtok, June 9 : While thousands of stranded tourists are having a torrid time in West Bengal’s hill town Darjeeling due to the fresh unrest and incidents of violence, neighbouring Sikkim – also a popular tourist destination – remains unaffected, a senior Sikkim government official said on Friday.
“Tourism in Sikkim is largely unaffected right now as the highway (National Highway 10) between Gangtok and West Bengal’s Siliguri is open. There are no transportation issues in and out of Sikkim now,” the official told IANS over phone.
However, he said there might be an element of fear, especially among first-time tourists, as the road to Sikkim passes through violence-hit Darjeeling.
“Yes there might be an element of fear among the new tourists, especially while travelling through the NH-10 that is the gateway to Sikkim after the recent unrest. However, the strike (shutdown) at other places hardly impacts us,” he claimed.
Sikkim Tourism and Civil Aviation Secretary C. Zangpo concurred, saying the tourists in Sikkim were not impacted as the shutdown in the Bengal hills was for just 12 hours.
“This was just a one-day strike in Darjeeling. So the tourists who are already in Sikkim need not worry. Initially there was panic among the tourists here, but the situation is completely under control,” he said.
Sikkim, situated roughly 126 km north of Darjeeling, is famous for its picturesque tourist destinations including its scenic capital Gangtok.