Kolkata: Manipur, which was gradually turning into one of the top tourist destinations of North Eastern states will see less or no tourists from West Bengal during the upcoming festivities this year due to the ongoing violence at Manipur that had claimed several lives.
Talking to the Free Press Journal, Sudesh Poddar, president of Hotel and Restaurant Association of Eastern India said so far there is no booking for Manipur this year mostly due to the unrest.
Manipur was one of the leading tourist destination
“At a time when Manipur started becoming one of the most important tourist destinations, the violence marked the momentum this year. Due to the development of the transportation in the North Eastern states for the last couple of years, North East is anyway attracting more tourists. Among those who visit NE during vacations, at least 10 per cent of them prefer Manipur,” said Poddar.
Poddar also mentioned that Apart from Darjeeling and Dooars in North Bengal, people prefer to visit Kaziranga, Shillong and Nagaland in the North East.
Tourism picked up pace after Covid
After a fall in the economy due to the pandemic, the tourism sector gradually started gaining pace at the beginning of 2022 after COVID. Several international tourists also started visiting places giving a boost to the tourism sector. But the month-long ethnic fights, increased death and destruction in Manipur once again pushed down the tourism.
Anjani Dhanuka, Secretary of Travel Agent Association of India and chairman of Aircom Travel Private Limited also reiterated that at a time when approximately 50,000 tourists from Bengal visit Manipur, this year there isn’t a single booking.
“People normally prefer hills in vacations and avoid them during monsoons. This year apart from Manipur, booking for the rest of the North Eastern states are in full swing. Apart from North East, people also prefer Cherrapunji, Srinagar, Kullu-Manali during festivities,” said Anjani.
Manipur violence must end before Durga Puja
Smriti Biswas, a resident of Kolkata who had promised her children to visit Manipur again this Durga Puja is hoping that the ethnic war ends and normalcy prevails in Manipur before Durga Puja.
“We have visited Manipur last year but for only three days, my children liked the place so much that we decided to go there again during Durga Puja. But the war is taking a toll on that place and we just hope that the administration takes steps to curb the issues so that people can stay peacefully and tourists also visit the place,” said Smriti.