J-K reopens tourism sector, to allow those coming by air from July 14

UT Admn issues SOPs, guidelines; all tourists to be tested for Covid-19; pre-booking of hotels, taxis mandatory

J-K reopens tourism sector, to allow those coming by air from July 14

Ski resort at Gulmarg in north Kashmir's Baramulla district. Tribune photo

Arteev Sharma

Tribune News Service

Jammu, July 12

Even as authorities have ordered a partial lockdown in Srinagar amid a surge in coronavirus cases, the UT administration on Sunday decided to open the tourism sector in the Union Territory (UT) in a phased manner from July 14.

The decision followed the recent directions of Lieutenant Governor Girish Chandra Murmu for the reopening of the tourism sector. On July 6, the government spokesperson Rohit Kansal had announced that the government would soon issue detailed guidelines and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).

Simrandeep Singh, Member-Secretary of State Executive Committee while issuing guidelines said that only tourists coming by air would be permitted to enter J&K in the first phase.

“There will be partial opening of the tourism sector for external visitors from outside J&K, limited to tourists arriving by air only,” Singh said, adding all incoming tourists must have confirmed hotel bookings for the duration of their stay besides they have confirmed return tickets to any place outside J&K, either to their departure point or any other destination.

“There shall be compulsory RT-PCR testing of all tourists on arrival. Taxis or transport facility have to be pre-booked through a hotel or travel agency for which procedure will be put in place by the tourism department. Tourists above the age of 65 should avoid coming on tourism holiday,” he said in the guidelines.

The guidelines added that it would be mandatory for tourists to pre-book their accommodation online in hotels, houseboats or guesthouses, etc.

“The proof of the same shall be checked on arrival. Taxis or transport to the hotel shall also be pre-booked by the hotels or travel agencies,” it said, adding, “Till the test result shows a negative result of Covid-19 a tourist will remain in the hotel where booking has been made and shall not be permitted to move out. A form in this regard shall have to be signed at the airport.”

It added, “Test results will normally arrive within 24 hours except in special circumstances. The hotel management shall be required to ensure compliance with the protocol.”

Those tourists arriving with Covid negative reports from their departure points would not be required to remain isolated in hotels, the guidelines said.

Pertinently, the positive cases in Jammu and Kashmir have crossed 10,000-mark with authorities deciding to go tough against the violations.

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