earthquake in the northeastern state of Sikkim has hit the tourist influx to
the state, and in an effort to counter this, the local government has announced
plans to kick start tourism again in the region. Though the earthquake of
devastated the region during the 18th of September with a magnitude
of 6.9, life is slowly returning to normal in the state.
The mainstay of the
state’s economy is tourism, and the local government is doing everything in its
power to hasten the rescue and rehabilitation process. Although the incessant
rains and inclement weather have hindered the speedy rescue of those affected
by the quake, the army has stepped in quite successfully to help the state
government in its rescue efforts.
Tourism in Sikkim
With the third
highest peak Kanchenjunga as one of its major attractions, Sikkim is one of the
most tourist friendly states in the country, although there are some
restrictions for foreign tourists. It is also a major trekking destination for
The River Teesta
with the towering Kanchenjunga in the background and its pristine valleys
offers unparalleled views of the surrounding snow-capped peaks and the Teesta
valley has become famous for eco tourism in recent years. The entire scene was
affected during the 2011 earthquake.
Measures to Restore Tourism
The Dzongo area,
with its indigenous Lepcha tribe, has been cut off from many parts of Sikkim
due to rains and landslides. The government is taking immediate efforts to
solve this problem and minimize the adverse impact of the quake on tourism.
Though there have
been some cancellations for the last week of September, the governing body -the
Travel Agents’ Association of Sikkim - opines that as soon as the roadblocks
are removed, tourists will flock to the valley. The army and the local
administration are working to restore and repair the infrastructure to help the
tourist season that’s set to begin in October.
Though Sikkim is connected to the rest of India by only one
highway, which is often unusable due to bad weather, it is popular because it
is a peaceful oasis, a veritable Shangri-la. The Rumtek and Char Dham
monasteries have been damaged heavily by the quake, so efforts are underway to
restore the tourist season starting in a few weeks.
Namchi and Mangan are some of the most popular spots among tourists who flock
here to enjoy nature at its best. Though a quake is devastating by itself, the
problem is compounded and rescue efforts are hindered by inclement weather and
roads that are useless because of landslides.