March 09, 2015
Tourism and the Tea Industry are the 2 main contributors to Darjeeling’s economy.
The annual Tea production from Darjeeling is estimated at 10,000 tonnes or 7 % of India’s output. It generates employment at various levels:
First, the tea gardens: where the ladies are seen plucking leaves
The factories: where the workers process the leaves into tea
The packaging units- where the tea is packed for different brands
The retail outlets: where the tea is sold
The hawkers: sell ready-to-drink Darjeeling Tea
Darjeeling is a gem of a place which is known for its colonial and modern charm. It is the only place in eastern India which witnesses high footfalls of foreign tourists.
This is what Mark Twain had said about Darjeeling many years ago: "The one land that all men desire to see, and having seen once by even a glimpse would not give that glimpse for the shows of the rest of the world combined".
There are over 1500 hotels in Darjeeling. The whole town comes to life during the holiday seasons and is full of tourists. Darjeeling witness around 5-10 lakh Indian and foreign tourists every year. This again generates employment in:
1) Hotels- depending on the size, hotels employ many locals.
2) Restaurants- there are restaurants in every nook and corner of Darjeeling, catering to the locals as well as tourists.
3) Transporters- With the inflow of such a large number of travellers, we need taxi drivers to show them around.
4) Tour and adventure operators- These are agents who plan day trips and trips to near-by places for tourists. They usually work on commission basis.
5) Permanent and temporary shops- The streets of Darjeeling are lined with temporary and permanent shops. These shops sell local handicrafts, imported stuff from Nepal, curio items, etc. and are a huge pull for tourists. The temporary ones are very dependent on the tourists for their daily income and hence a lot of bargaining goes on there!
-By A Local