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Despite coronavirus fear, West Bengal’s Jangalmahal hotels remain packed till March 15

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The lure of the blossoming palash seems enough to beat the coronavirus scare among tourists in Jangalmahal.

The cash registers of all 26 hotels and lodges in Jhargram, two home stay facilities in Belpahari, three forest bungalows and two government guesthouses have not stopped ringing even as temporary tents remained occupied on the Ayodha hills during the Holi break.

The reports are stunning considering that Digha, this weekend, had merely 60% occupancy, and north Bengal a tad better at 80%-85%. Even on March 1, a week before Dol, Gorumara safari had 12 vehicles out of the 40, Chapramari had two for its watchtower that usually has 12.

“Darjeeling has a full occupancy as tourists from Bhutan and even Sikkim rerouted their plans after the scare. But Jangalmahal hardly saw any cancellations, with backpackers even taking the smallest of facilities,” said a tour operator based out of Park Street.

All rooms in Jangalmahal are booked till March 15 – well beyond Holi on Monday. Tour operators said the Jangalmahal has suddenly emerged as an attraction with many tourists.

The tourist season in Jangalmahal normally starts in November and lasts till February. However, going by the booking levels, tourists themselves have extended the season by a fortnight this year. Hotel and lodge owners said they are still receiving calls for booking inquiries during and after Holi. “We are being forced to tell them that we can’t accommodate them till March 15,” said Sibashish Chattopadhyay of Jhargram Hotel and Lodge Association.

Principal chief conservator of forests (PCCF) Ravikant Sinha said: “All tourist spots in Jangalmahal have been spruced up.” Some known tourist spots are Kakrajhor Hill and Laljol dam in Belpahari, Hatibari in Gopiballavpur and Tapobon in Nayagram.

 

Source: Times of India

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