Hotels in Darjeeling will down their shutters indefinitely from July 1, according to a decision by the Darjeeling Hotel Owners’ Association (DHOA).
Even though the West Bengal government has allowed the reopening of hotels from June 8, DHOA feels that the hotels in Darjeeling can't sustain with only the arrival of a handful of tourists owing to COVID-19 pandemic.
The decision to shut down the 380 odd hotels in Darjeeling will directly affect the livelihood of 10,000 families.
Darjeeling is West Bengal's top tourist destination and it attracts almost 4.5 lakh tourists every year.
DHOA president Sangay Tshering, during a media interaction, said that even if the lockdown is lifted there is hardly any chance that tourists will visit the hill station.
He further informed that the decision to down the shutters of 380 hotels in Darjeeling was taken in a meeting held on Wednesday.
“It would be untenable to keep the hotels open during the off-season,” reported Hindustan Times quoting a hotelier.
With monsoons setting in gradually, the peak season for Darjeeling is almost over and the hoteliers don't see many tourists coming in.
"COVID-19 has impacted the tourism industry across the country, and not just in Darjeeling," said Guwahati-based tour operator Dipankar Sarma while speaking to The Story Mug.
"I generally do a business of around 5-6 lakh every by arranging packaged tours to Darjeeling during the peak season," Sarma added.
"Due to the COVID-19 pandemic there has been no business this year and I don't see the situation getting better soon," he added.
"Not just the hotels in Darjeeling, several hotels in Shillong and Cherrapunji have also decided to down their shutters indefinitely," he added.
"The road ahead from here on is going to be difficult and we will need to address it pragmatically," Sarma further said.
The Story Mug, a Guwahati-based blogzine, believes in telling stories that matter.