As protests against the amended Citizenship Act continue across the country, the tourism industry in Sikkim has taken a hit this holiday season.
As per the Gangtok-based tour operators, around 70 percentage declined in tourist footfall has been observed in this season.
“Tourism in Sikkim is badly hit by the ongoing agitation on the new citizenship act. Even though there were no intense movement or agitations in Sikkim, tourists are cancelling their trips to the state after seeing or listening about the agitation in other parts of Northeast,” said a tour operator.
Another tour operator added, “Several tourists are cancelling their bookings citing unrest in the Northeast as the reason. The international tourists are facing the problem due to lack of link flights.”
Violent protests broke out in several parts of the country after the citizenship law was passed in parliament on December 11th, 2019. The streets of Assam turned into a veritable battle zone littered with burnt tyres, logs, stones, rubber pellets and teargas shells as seething protesters descended on the streets opposing the Bill. Anti-CAA protests also rocked Meghalaya and Tripura earlier this month.
“The MG Road, which is the heart of the town, witnesses the heavy flow of tourists. Even though it’s snowing and the Christman season is here, the tourist flow must not have been above 40 per cent,” said a tour operator.
The tour operators said that they are getting apprehensive calls from overseas tourists who wanted to know about the ground situation in the state, having read media reports.
Former Indian football captain Bhaichung Bhutia has strongly opposed the new citizenship law and has asked the state government to clear its stand on the new legislation. A delegation of the Sikkim Democratic Front on December 20th, 2019, called on the Governor of the state urging to keep the state out of the purview of the newly enacted Citizenship Amendment Act.