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On National Tourism Day, Bengal is confident of a better year

25 January, 2021 15:39:35
On National Tourism Day, Bengal is confident of a better year

Nobody seems to be quite sure why India observes January 25 as National Tourism Day every year. However, the day is certainly a useful reminder of how large an impact tourism has on the country’s economy. Sadly, almost the whole of 2020 was marked by a disastrous slump in the country’s tourism sector, owing mostly to the restrictions imposed by the Covid pandemic on long-distance travel.

Katra Masjid

According to a published report, the World Travel and Tourism Council calculated that tourism generated Rs 16.91 lakh crore, or 9.2 percent of India’s GDP in 2018, and supported 42.673 million jobs, comprising 8.1 percent of its total employment. Under ordinary circumstances, the sector was estimated to grow at an annual rate of 6.9 percent to Rs 32.05 lakh crore by 2028, constituting 9.9 percent of GDP, a growth that still is not out of reach.

Firoz Minar at Gaur

A calm sea breeze

This year, the theme of National Tourism Day is ‘Dekho Apna Desh’. Evidently, with most Indians still wary of international travel, the expectation is that after a disastrous 2020, the country’s travel and hospitality sector will begin to witness a revival on the strength of domestic tourism. 

Tagores land

Happily, West Bengal seems to have got the idea ahead of the rest of the country. At its 169th board meeting held on December 18, 2020, the West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation Ltd (WBTDCL) came up with some delightful, and astonishing, statistics. Indeed, for the first time last year, the WBTDCL actually posted a profit. These are statistics that tell a story of hope for the state’s beleaguered tourism sector, which has been hit as hard as any other tourism sector in the world. Covering all the properties belonging to WBTDCL, the statistics are from the months of August-November 2020, but if these four months are any indication, the upward curve is here to stay.

Tales of Terracotta at Bishnupur

Clearly, tourists within the state have already adopted the ‘dekho apna desh’ policy, only they have modified it to ‘dekho apna state’. Based on figures released by WBTDCL, the month of October 2020 registered the highest growth in tourist numbers, coinciding with the Durga Puja vacations. In the ‘Package and Other Income’ segment, for instance, revenue jumped from Rs 3.48 lakh in August to Rs 7.80 lakh in October. However, when it comes to occupancy, for which data is available up to the first week of December 2020, the growth has been remarkable – from 6 percent in August, to 27 percent in September, 52 percent in October, 55 percent in November, and 80.14 percent until December 7.  All of which culminated in a total profit of Rs 3.43 lakh for the month of November.

The iconic toy train at Batasia Loop

The Majestic Himalayas

Placed against the context of the nosedive in revenues through most of the year, even that modest profit is a sign of hope for the current year. Ever since the unlock phase began, and hotels and other similar establishments were gradually opened to guests, WBTDCL has taken particular care to sanitise its properties and follow Covid protocol in strict accordance with government guidelines. As the rising numbers show, guests have begun to return the favour.

Victoria Memorial

Among the most popular destinations in Bengal during the latter part of the year were Digha, Santiniketan, and Darjeeling, though the state’s other tourism properties showed a definite rise in occupancy, too.

For bookings and details on individual locations, either visit the state government’s tourism department website, or contact:

West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation Ltd
DG Block, Sector-II, Salt Lake
Kolkata 700091
Phone: (033) 2358 5189, Fax: 2359 8292

Story Tag:
  • National Tourism Day

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