New Delhi | Planning a trip to some of these tourist destinations might just get easier for many who are looking out for an escape after spending months under the lockdown in the country.

Under the list of several relaxations being announced for the tourism industry as a part of Unlock 2.0, states like Himachal Pradesh, Uttrakhand, and Goa have allowed the entry of tourists as the ban on the inter-state and intrastate movement has been removed in the country with effect from July 1.

The tourism industry, across the globe, has been one of the worst-hit sectors economically due to the complete ban on the movement of people to contain the spread of the contagious virus.

But after three and a half months later, the Himachal Pradesh government on Friday announced to relax the ban as part of phased re-opening under Unlock 2.0.

Several media reports suggest that officials of the state have said that the tourism department will issue Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for regulating the entry of tourists in the state.

However, no official date has been announced by the government. Meanwhile, according to a report by India.com, tourists travelling to Himachal Pradesh are required to meet the following conditions:

1. A test report showing negative for COVID-19
2. Prior hotel booking of at least five days.
3. Will have to stay for at least five days and more.
4. The COVID-19 test has to be done by an ICMR-accredited laboratory not earlier than 72 hours.
5. If the conditions are fulfilled, then there will be exemptions from the quarantine requirement.

Moreover, the inter-state movement will be monitored through registration in the COVID-19  e-pass software (covid19epass.hp.gov.in) and the tourists coming from other states are strictly instructed to adhere to the protocols issued by the state government. But, the inter-state bus travel will remain suspended until further orders.

Goa, which is known for its heavy tourist attractions is also set to open around 250 hotels to domestic tourists. Taking to Twitter, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant wrote, “Tourism is one of the biggest industries in the state and is the backbone of our economy. In this unlock phase, we are kickstarting our economy again by keeping the highest health safety norms in place in view of #COVID19.”

According to a report by the Mumbai Mirror, Tourism Director of Goa, Menino D'Souza while speaking on re-opening its door for domestic tourists has said that certain SOPs will be issued which the hotels have to comply with. He also said that booking of the hotel will be checked at entry points, while the authorities will check the Covid-19 negative certificate issued by the ICMR. In the case of a tourist not having the test report, he/she will be asked to go for a test and will be observed in isolation until then.

"All tourists will undergo a basic screening through a thermal gun,” the guidelines issued by the state read.

In Uttrakhand, Chardham Yatra for Uttrakhand residents has begun from july onwards with around 422 pilgrims applying for e-passes on the Uttarakhand Devasthanam Board website.

The notification issued on the website instructs prior registration to be made mandatory for the pilgrims visiting the Shrines.  Pilgrims are advised to download the Yatra e-pass after successful registration on the website. The e-pass then has to be produced before the authorities.

However, according to the latest issued guidelines, pilgrims from other states are not allowed to visit the temples, observing the Covid-19 guidelines for travel in the state.

One of the major backdrops of this pandemic is a severe halt received by the Tourism and travel industry, but with the commencement of the second phase of unlocking, travel restrictions are being relaxed gradually in a few states

Posted By: Simran Babbar