Sikkim registers record-breaking tourism surge

Sikkim is witnessing an unprecedented surge in tourist footfall in 2024. As per official data released by the Tourism and Civil Aviation Department, Sikkim has welcomed a staggering 2,90,401 tourists in the first quarter of the year, up till March 31, 2024. Among these, two 2,56,537 were domestic tourists, while 30,864 hailed from foreign shores.

This surge in tourism signals a promising rebound for Sikkim’s hospitality sector, which was severely impacted by the devastating Glacier Lake Outburst Flood (GLOF) in October, 2023. The calamity which wreaked havoc particularly in the northern part of the state claimed the lives of 43 individuals with over 70 still reported missing. Consequently, the tourist influx during the second tourist season witnessed a significant dip. However, with the current early trend indicating a robust recovery, Sikkim is poised to reclaim its status as a premier tourist destination, reported India Today NE.

Behind this resurgence lies a dedicated workforce of more than two lakh fifty thousand to three lakh individuals, directly or indirectly associated with the tourism industry. These include hoteliers, tour operators, taxi drivers, guides and numerous other stakeholders who form the backbone of Sikkim’s tourism sector.

The economic impact of tourism on the state is substantial with the industry estimated to have generated over 500 crores in revenue prior to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. As tourist numbers continue to climb, this figure is expected to witness a significant uptick providing a much-needed boost to the local economy, the report by India Today NE added.

Jumping into the infrastructure supporting this tourism boom, Sikkim boasts a robust network of 1,725 travel agencies and accommodations offering a total of 38,208 beds to cater to the influx of visitors. The transportation sector, a vital cog in the tourism machinery, comprises 2,206 registered luxury vehicles alongside 6,200 normal taxis and 12,232 smaller cabs. Additionally, there are guides and other minor bed and breakfast establishments collectively contributing to the seamless facilitation of tourist activities across the state.

SIKKIM full of tourists

A glance at the historical data reveals a steady upward trajectory in tourist arrivals over the past decade. From a modest figure of 576,749 visitors in 2013, the numbers have witnessed a remarkable surge, reaching a peak of 1,625,573 in 2023. The year 2024, with its promising start, is on track to surpass previous records, with projections indicating a potential milestone of 1.2 million tourists by year-end if the current growth rate persists.

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