Tribune News Service
Shimla, June 14
With tourists from neighbouring states heading in hordes to Himachal Pradesh, particularly Shimla, Kullu-Manali and Dharamsala, on the first day of the state opening its borders to outsiders without the mandatory RT-PCR negative report, the police have warned the visitors against flouting the Covid safety protocol.
Also read: Dejected, tourists in Himachal return home
Within a few hours of the opening of the borders, long serpentine queues of vehicles could be witnessed at the entry points. This weekend, prior to opening of the border, over 5,000 vehicles are learnt to have entered Shimla within hours from Shogi barrier.
A heavy rush of tourists was witnessed on the Ridge and The Mall Road in Shimla. The police also slapped challans on a few violators.
Urging the tourists to strictly follow the Covid SOPs, Shimla Superintendent of Police Mohit Chawla said they had challaned some people on The Mall Road. He warned of eight-day jail in case of repeated violations.
The occupancy on this weekend touched 30 per cent which is further expected to go upto 60 per cent in the coming week. About 25 per cent bookings have been done in while 25 per cent of tourists are walk in, says President of Shimla Hotel and Restaurant Association Sanjay Sood.
He said people in the plains were rushing to the hills of Himachal to get relief from sultry heat.
“We have appealed to the hotel owners to abide by the standard operating procedures (SOPs) like wearing of masks, proper sanitization and avoid overcrowding so that tourists feel safe and comfortable,” said President, Tourism Industry Stakeholders Association MK Seth.
The tourism industry, which suffered heavy losses in peak summer season in 2020 and 2021 are hopeful that with relaxation on restrictions, industry would be able to cover up the losses to some extent.
Prior to June 14, the state government had allowed the entry of only those tourists who had prior booking at a hotel or homestay and carried a Covid negative report from an ICMR-accredited laboratory.
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