Coronavirus: After Sikkim restricts entry of foreigners, tourism industry fears losses
Darjeeling/IBNS: Amid the rising number of novel coronavirus cases, Sikkim has temporarily banned the entry of foreigners sparking fear of major financial losses among tour operators, hoteliers and travel agencies in Darjeeling, media reports said.
A blanket ban has been issued on permits to Nathu La, a famous tourist spot in Sikkim, bordering China, said reports.
According to tour operators, the tourists mostly spend the last leg of their tour in the region in Darjeeling after spending three to four days in Sikkim, and in view of the entry ban, the tourists may cancel their visit to the hill station and choose to vacation elsewhere, said a Times of India report.
On Thursday, the Sikkim home department imposed restrictions on issue of Inner Line Permits, which the foreigners need to enter Sikkim.
Even citizens of Bhutan are also banned from entering the state temporarily. The Himalayan kingdom reported its first case of COVID-19, after a 76-year-old man from the United States, who went there as a tourist via India, tested positive for the infection.
A report from Rangpo, Sikkim, said many foreign travellers were sent back from the check post as the Sikkim government has shut the door for foreign tourists from Thursday following the rapid spread of coronavirus.
Meanwhile the total number of confirmed cases related to deadly novel Coronavirus touched 31 on Friday.