Tourists disallowed to enter Himachal, hoteliers upset

Tourists disallowed to enter Himachal, hoteliers upset

An eco-tourism project in Kandaghat subdivision. tribune photo

Ambika Sharma

Tribune News Service

Solan, August 18

Local hoteliers yesterday said that the purpose of reviving tourism was being defeated, as the district administration was not allowing tourists to enter the state even though they fulfilled norms.

Devinder Verma, president of the Chail Hotel Association, said that even tourists having the mandatory five-day hotel booking and the Covid-19 negative test report issued 72 hours ago had been denied permission to enter the state. He said the tourists were being told to begin their journey only after receiving the acknowledgement receipt after they had registered online for permission. But despite fulfilling the stipulated conditions, their applications were being rejected. “This is humiliating not only for the tourists but also for the hoteliers, who are awaiting their arrival after the July 4 notification of the state government,” said Verma. He said online approvals should be done round the clock.

“There is no certified agency to provide sanitisation certificates to tourist vehicles, as required. When trucks carrying goods are coming to the state without this certificate, why single out tourist vehicles to follow the norm. We demand the scrapping of this norm,” said Verma. He said the creation of a facility at Parwanoo could help ease the problems.

Arun Rawat, an entrepreneur in eco-tourism, said after following all protocols barely three tourists had managed to come to the state in the last fortnight. As labs authorised by the ICMR were busy catering to Covid cases, getting an individual’s test done was challenging.

“Confusion about which type of Covid-19 test is valid is another point of concern, as there is an antigen test as well as the RTPCR. In the absence of clarity, the tourists go for whatever test is available. This issue should also be mentioned on the department’s website to allay the confusion among tourists,” said Winnie Chadha, adviser to Kasauli Residents Welfare and Hoteliers Association.

Though the Chail Hotel Association was among the first to open hotels in the district, given the handicaps tourists were encountering, little business had been witnessed in the last one month.

Even if tourists managed to enter the state, they were facing other problems, including multiple scanning of their documents.

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