Under Covid Shadow, Himachal Prepares To Open Up Tourism

Manali: After a meeting with officials in Mandi, chief minister Jairam Thakur announced that tourist places in the state could be opened within a week. He instructed officials of the department to lay out Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for opening up the state.

The SOPs set in operation by the government of Kerala and Goa regarding the tourist destinations will be studied. He said that the government is doing everything possible to promote economic activities in the state. Many types of concessions have been given to hotels and industries. Decisive steps have been taken to ensure that development works are not affected even during the Corona period.

Preparations have been started to catch up tourism activities back on track in the state. The government has finally decided to give entry to the tourists with negative report of Corona. Tourists must book at least for five days. The Himachal government has also discussed the guidelines of other states including the Union Home Ministry for starting tourism activities, Chief Minister Jairam Thakur had revealed to start tourism activities in himachal within a week. Only 60 percent occupancy in the restaurants and dhabas of the state will continue in the coming days. In the coming days, only the tourism department will be authorized to make any changes.

Himachal government has opened the boundaries of the state to the tourists. On Friday, the State Disaster Management Cell has issued a guideline for starting tourism activities. Now, on a five-day booking at the hotel, the tourists with negative reports of Corona will be able to come to the state. Corona must have a negative report 72 hours before the ICMR-registered lab. Tourists will not need a curfew pass. They have to register 48 hours in advance on the state government’s covid e-pass website. Tourists booking hotels in advance will not be quarantined.

Anupram Thakur, President, Manali Hotelier Association that said hotel owner of the state is not ready to open the hotel yet. Hotelier and trader believe that the summer season has ended in the state. Very few people come to the state during the rainy season. The cases of corona infection are also increasing steadily. In such a situation, a decision should be taken to open hotels in September. On the other hand, it will be a challenging task to prepare Hotelier and traders for the state government, which is gearing up to start tourism activities.

Hotels will also ensure that visitors have undergone RT-PCR tests from ICMR-authorised labs not earlier than 72 hours from the time of arrival, reflecting the COVID-19 negative report

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Sanjay Dutta, an engineer by qualification but is a journalist by choice. He has worked for the premier new agency Press Trust of India and leading English daily Indian Express. With more than a decade of experience, he has been highlighting issues related to environment, tourism and other aspects affecting mountain ecology. Sanjay Dutta lives in a village close to Manali in Kullu valley of Himachal.

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