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Sikkim sees record-breaking surge in tourist inflow, numbers may touch 1.2 million by year-end

First Published: 30th April, 2024 14:49 IST

According to official figures released by the Department of Tourism and Civil Aviation, the Himalayan state saw 290,401 visitors for sightseeing in the state till March 31.

Reported by Prakash Adhikari

Sikkim, known for its pristine natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and wonderful weather has seen a significant surge in the arrival of tourists from across the country and the world in the first 3 months of 2024.

According to official figures released by the Department of Tourism and Civil Aviation, the Himalayan state saw 290,401 visitors visiting the state till March 31. Among them, 256,537 were from across India, while 30,864 were foreign tourists.

This surge in tourism signals a promising revival for Sikkim, which was severely affected by the devastating floods in October 2023. The catastrophe wreaked havoc in the northern part of the state, and claimed the lives of 43 people, with over 70 still missing.   

Following this disaster, a decline was observed in tourist arrivals during the subsequent tourism season. But the first quarter numbers show a positive turnaround in the trend. 

The number of visitors increased significantly from an average of 576,749 in 2013 to a peak of 1,625,573 in 2023. With a promising start in 2024, surpassing previous records seems to be on the horizon. 

If the current growth rate holds steady, by the end of the year, 1.2 million tourists are predicted to visit the state, officials said.

Sikkim is gearing up to reclaim its position as a prime tourist destination. Behind this revival lies a dedicated workforce of over 3,00,000 individuals directly or indirectly associated with the tourism industry. 

The tourism industry is said to have made over Rs 500 crore in income before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the state. Revenues are expected to rise with the increase in the number of tourists now. 

To keep up with the growing number of visitors, Sikkim has established a robust network of 1,725 travel agencies and hotels, offering 38,208 beds for lodging. The state has 2,206 registered luxury vehicles, along with 6,200 regular taxis and 12,232 small taxis.

Also Read: 4.2 magnitude quake hits China’s Xizang, tremors felt in Sikkim

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