Domestic travel sector optimistic with improving COVID situation: Official

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Kolkata, Feb 26 (PTI) The domestic travel sector is looking up, opening new vistas for business, with the COVID-19 situation improving in the country, a senior West Bengal government official said on Friday.

The official was speaking at the inauguration of the first major tourism festival here since the outbreak of the pandemic last year.

'Domestic tourism is here to stay, leading to rediscovering the new facets of our country and the intangible heritage we have,' West Bengal principal secretary, tourism, Nandini Chakraborty said.

The rich heritage of the country can be the focus and help the travel industry grow manifold, the official said.

'Though the foreign tourist arrival may have to wait for some time, the domestic travel sector has filled the void and has helped revival of business,' Chakraborty said.

All the 34 properties of West Bengal Tourism, which are of three-star category and situated in different parts of the state from the Darjeeling Hills to the sea side town of Digha, are open, the official said.

She said that despite an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in some states, the domestic tourism sector is likely to remain upbeat.

At least 15 states and more than 140 private exhibitors are participating in the Travel and Tourism Fair being organised after 2019, the organisers said.

Sanjeev Agarwal, chairman and CEO of Fairfest Media, the organisers of the TTF, said that while West Bengal is the host state, Gujarat is the premium partner state.

Uttarakhand and Rajasthan are partner states, while Nagaland, Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Tripura and Jharkhand have also made their presence felt at the three-day fair that commenced on Friday at 'Uttirno' auditorium in south Kolkata.

'We are extremely happy to report that the confidence in domestic travel is growing by leaps and bounds,' he said.