As the country gets into the unlock mode, tourism sector has slowly started to pick up after a long halt. States popular with tourists such as Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Goa have pentagon insta reopened doors for tourists. Jammu and Kashmir has reopened too, but only for air travellers.
Hoteliers and tour operators say that the queries have started coming in from prospective travellers but most are still reluctant to visit due to the strict guidelines. However, some have welcomed guests from Surat in Shimla already, and hope that reopening the city to tourists brings in some monetary relief too.
A staff member of a hotel located at the Mall Road in Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, says, “We are getting good number of queries but because of the strict guidelines the conversion is not that high. We are hoping that in the next phase of unlock, there would some flexibility in the guidelines for tourists.” He also adds, “There are almost 31 high-load Covid-19 cities in Uttarakhand from where we cannot take any bookings right now. And if we take those, booking needs to be for minimum 14 days. For no-minimum stay, one needs to have Covid-19 negative certificate. But most guests are still hesitant to get themselves tested.”
A hotelier from Shimla, Ram, who runs a budget hotel near the Mall Road says that there has been a slight increase in bookings and occupancy but it is still not enough to survive in the business. He says, “Right now, we have guests from Delhi, Chandigarh and Surat as well. However, the stay is now for minimum five days.”
Indervir Singh Grewal a tourist from Punjab says, “We used to visit Kasauli at least once a month. The drive to the mountains was one thing that helped me unwind but now there are so many guidelines in place that we cannot make impromptu plans.”
In Goa only 250 hotels have been permitted to operate and open up for tourists by Goa State Government. Mascarenhas from Rainbow Lining Hostels in Palolem has applied for reopening approval. He says, “We are not sure whether hostels are allowed to operate or not. It’s totally understandable in the view of the current situation but we have applied for permission.”
So, how is the business faring in the unlock phase for tour and travel agencies? Sourabh Tiwari, owner of Sushant Travels in Delhi says, “There are several queries for Goa but due to less frequency of trains and flights, and increased airfares, people are sceptical to travel and also majorly because of the safety concerns.”
If you’re planning a vacation, make sure to install Aarogya Setu app, have a Covid-19 negative certificate and confirmed hotel bookings. These are a few rules from the guidelines to keep in mind before travelling. Check respective region’s tourism website for more details on travel.