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Coronavirus: Sikkim Places Blanket Ban on Tourists; Schools to be Closed till April 15

Coronavirus: Sikkim Places Blanket Ban on Tourists; Schools to be Closed till April 15

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Gangtok, March 16, 2020:

The Sikkim government has decided to temporarily down all government and private educational institutions, private companies, and casinos from March 17 to April 15 as a measure against the novel coronavirus. Apart from this, the Government has also placed blanket ban on both international and domestic tourists, with immediate effect.

The decision was taken in the stakeholders meeting held at Samman Bhawan under the chairmanship of the chief Minister PS Golay today. However, the closure is not applicable to government offices.

"Also, the government has put ban on domestic tourists visiting Sikkim", informed the Political Secretary to the government Jacob Khaling. The notification in regards to the matter is expected to be issued tomorrow. Meanwhile, the tourism industry in the State has been absolutely crippled after the outbreak of the pandemic.

ALSO READ: Coronavirus Crisis: Nagaland Imposes Blanket Ban on Tourists, Orders Shutdown of Educational Institutes till April 12

Darjeeling and Sikkim, popular tourist destinations, are facing . The Tourism, Hospitality and Transport business is at stake as regional boundaries are closed. Due to the outbreak of coronavirus, there has been a huge decline in the influx of tourists in Darjeeling and Sikkim both, and many people in Sikkim who depend on the industry for their livelihoods, have received severe setbacks.

Talking to Inside Northeast, the General Secretary of Himalayan Hospitality and Tourism Development Network (HHTDN) Samrat Sanyal said that the Darjeeling and Sikkim region experiences heavy tourist footfall from Mid March–June End every year and it is the peak season. The tourism industry has to prepare 6 months beforehand in order to welcome tourists.

This year also, the region was getting ready to welcome incoming tourists in the peak season, which is lucrative for the locals, however, the administration has now placed a blanket ban on tourists.

ALSO READ: Coronavirus: Tripura Shuts Down all Schools & Colleges till March 31

The HHTDN on behalf of the Tour operators have also communicated with the Tourism Minister of the Government of West Bengal for an appointment to appraise him regarding the situation faced by the tourism industry due to COVID-19.

HHTDN also requested the Member of Parliament of Darjeeling Loksabha Constituency for an appointment so that they can intimate them about hardships faced by the people in Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Dooars region, as well as in Sikkim.

To appraise the situation to the Ministry of Tourism, Govt of India, HHTDN has taken an appointment slot from the Regional Director (East) on March 16, 2020. HHTDN on behalf of all the leading industry associations of Bengal have taken the appointment and informed other organizations to take leads as wll. HHTDN also circulated the agendas and demands to be made to India Tourism to make the travel and tourism industry sustainable.

Meanwhile, in a mad scramble, governments across the globe are continuing their struggle to contain the coronavirus — hoping to limit the number of new infections, while treating those individuals suffering from COVID-19 and isolating others whose symptoms are not as severe but who might spread the disease.

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