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27 May 2017

Tourism hit by VIP visit during peak season

EOI, DARJEELING, 26 May 2017: The Darjeeling Association of Travel Agents today made an appeal that VIPs should not come to the hills during the peak tourist season as due to the requisition of vehicles for their visit the tourists are the ones that face the most problem due to lack of vehicles.
The statement of the tour association comes in the wake of the Bengal chief minister Mamta Banerjee scheduled to visit Mirik on the June 4th and Darjeeling on June 5th for which the official confirmation is yet to be got.
Speaking in a press conference the DATA general secretary Pradip Lama said, “I would like to make an appeal to all VIPs that they should try and avoid coming to the hills during the peak tourist season as it only causes numeral problems for tourists in the form of unavailability of vehicles as they are requisitioned for VIP duty.
When VIPs come not only vehicles are requisitioned but traffic is also affected with vehicles not allowed to ply in certain routes.”
Lama however did not mention the CMs visit to the hills.
Presently, with the peak tourist season going on there are many tourists in the hills with tour operators claiming that there has been a sharp increase of tourists this year compared to this time last year. They claim that the tourist season which started from April end itself has all hotels packed right up till June 2nd week this year with the main reason for the increase being tourists not going to Kashmir this time. Lama was also seen appealing to the administration to look into the overcharging of tariff in hotels with some of them charging almost double. He however maintained that the vehicles charge were fine.
“The vehicles are also charging more than what they do but it looking at no increase in vehicle charges since the year 2008 I feel that it is fine as taxes and other things have increase since then,” said Lama.
On the other hand on the same issue the police here was seen holding a meeting with hotel owners, taxi syndicates and tour operators at Hayden Hall.
In the meeting the Darjeeling DSP Sidarth Dorjee said, “We are hearing about excess increase in the tariff of hotels and the charges being levied by the vehicles during this tourist season. Although we have not got any formal complaint we will take strict action if we find this being done with a case of extortion also started against the person doing this.”
The police also asked the people present there that the tariff of the vehicles and the hotels should be kept in proper display and further maintained that they will put forward a proposal with the Darjeeling SP asking that a task force be made of police who could conduct checks in civil dress in hotel and vehicles for this matter.

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