New Delhi: The Jammu and Kashmir government has decided to open the union territory for tourism in a phased manner starting July 14 and has issued a set of guidelines for the same. The tourism sector in the state-converting into two UTs has started after a gap of almost four months.
Jammu and Kashmir are open for tourism but only for air travellers. Tourist players welcomed the step.
Tour and travel operator Fayaz Ahmad Shala said, “Toursim have not started. We have come ot know about out through media and we welcome the step. However, we doubt that when airline people will come to know about it, they would hike the airfare, which will again imapct the number of travellers. We request the government to consider this.”
Tourist players, be it tour operators, houseboat owners or boat man have welcomed the step to open tourism in the region as they are most suffers since august 2019 when the central government scrapped Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated the state in to two Union Territories. During this time, tourists in Jammu and Kashmir were advised to leave the area.
One boat man quipped, “We would be more than happy if Amarnath Yatra starts and pilgrims are allowed to visit the tourist spots too.” Another boat man, Ali Mohammad said, “It will be great for us if tourists start visiting here. We have suffered a lot.” Taxi operator Adil Ahmad said, “It’s very good step. It will boost trade in Kashmir and people will benefit.”
The decision to reopen tourism was taken by the Jammu and Kashmir government in a high-level meeting that was held a few days ago. There will be a partial opening of the tourism sector for visitors from outside J&K, and for now, has been limited to tourists arriving by air only.
The official release read, “In the view of the COVID-19 related measures, it is felt imperative to put in place a protocol to be followed by the tourists as well the persons/authorities engaged in the hospitality sector.”
Thus, the government has decided to open the Union Territory in a phased manner and is allowing entry to only those tourists arriving by air in the first phase of reopening.
Following are some of the highlights from the guidelines for J&K tourism:
In this phase, tourism is limited to those arriving by air only. COVID-19 test of all tourists is compulsory on arrival and tourists need to have confirmed hotel bookings.
All tourists must have confirmed hotel bookings for the duration of their stay. It is mandatory to pre-book accommodation online in hotels, houseboats or guesthouses. The proof of this will be checked at the time of arrival.
All tourists must have their return tickets too.
Upon arrival, all the tourists will have to undergo COVID testing (mandatory). And until the test result shows a negative for COVID-19, tourists will stay in their hotel rooms and shall not be permitted to move out. Tourists will have to sign a form at the airport.
Even if a tourist comes with COVID negative report, he/she will still have to take the COVID test on arrival at the airport. However, they will not be required to remain isolated in hotels.
If a tourist test positive for the virus, he/she will be immediately sent for treatment to a medical facility as per the protocol.
Taxis or transport service have to be pre-booked through hotels and travel agencies.
Tourists above the age of 65 should avoid travelling.
Only tourists coming by air shall be permitted.
Aarogya Setu app is a must and all tourists should have it installed on their phones and shall be checked for ‘safe’ status at the time of arrival.