Sikkim's Pakyong Airport to boost tourism in Himalayan state
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inaugurated Sikkim’s first airport at Pakyong. It will benefit the tourism business in the entire eastern Himalayan region, including both Darjeeling and Sikkim.
The airport is located approximately 2 km above the Pakyong village and is spread over 201 acres of land. Pakyong will be a new and additional gateway for both domestic and foreign tourists.
S Sanyal, a veteran tourism consultant, said, "Air routes are availed more by the foreign visitors, who contribute more to the tourism business volume by way of higher spending compared to domestic tourists. Hence, an increase in the number of foreign tourists directly pushes up the business volume."
R Basu, the tourism advisor to Sikkim, said, "Here, the capacity of already overloaded Bagdogra airport remains a major limiting factor. With Pakyong operating in full swing, everyone will have a second option in hand."
Sandipan Ghosh, Secretary Eastern Himalayan Tour and Travel Operators Association, said, "As a whole, we expect a significant increase in foreign tourists here. Around 10% of Sikkim’s 8000 bed capacity and 7000 of Darjeeling are of premium class. But existing average annual occupancy rate is between 50-60%. So, the region can well accommodate this additional arrival even without any major fresh capacity augmentation."
"Final outcome will depend on number and routes served by Pakyong. Not only Kolkata, but this region also receives a high number of visitors from Chennai, Hyderabad or Mumbai too. Hence, connecting these places is important to churn out best possible gain out of the airport," Ghosh added.