Kolkata, July 8 (IANS) Tourists from Bangladesh, who travel mainly to West Bengal in India, have avoided Darjeeling in favour of other spots due to the unrest in the northwest Bengal hills.
“They are avoiding Darjeeling and going to places like Dakshineswar Kali temple near Kolkata. There is usually a good rush for the northwest Bengal hills at this time of the year,” Nikhil Ranjan Roy, Director (Joint Secretary), Bangladesh Tourism Board, said here at the Travel and Tourism Fair.
Roy said China had become the top source market for Bangladesh tourism.
“Last year (in 2016), the footfall from China was around 40,000 while from India it was 20,000. We are targeting 50,000 Indian tourists by December 2018,” he said.
Bangladesh was also throwing its weight behind eco-tourism, officials said.
“This apart, we have plans to reserve the Maitree Express to ferry passengers to Dhaka exclusively for the Boi Mela, the national book fair of Bangladesh, held on February 21,” said Mohiuddin Helal, Chief Executive, River and Green Tours.
The Darjeeling hills are on the boil due to the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM)-sponsored indefinite shutdown in the region demanding a separate state of Gorkhaland.