As second COVID wave recedes, desperate tourists rush to hill getaways
Domestic boutique hotels and resorts – in Kashmir, Ladakh and Nainital – have reported a sudden boost from domestic bookings, saying that the offseason October-February period too looked pretty busy
The second COVID wave is on the wane – India saw around 62,000 cases on Tuesday (June 15), a big decline over the last fortnight. No one wants to remember the worst of April-May, especially when the hills of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand are calling. More than 5,000 vehicles entered the Queen of Hills, Shimla, last weekend (June 12-13) as wanderlust struck tourists from plains of Delhi and elsewhere.
On Friday (June 11), the Himachal Pradesh government lifted Section 144 and said negative RT-PCR tests would not be required any more to cross the state borders.
On Sunday roads leading to Himachal Pradesh were jam-packed as tourists waited in their cars, no one really complaining. The state recorded 237 new COVID cases and seven fatalities – five in Kangra district – the same day.
A total of 855 positive patients have also recovered in the state. The state has 1,98,550 total confirmed positive cases of which 4,777 cases are active, 1,90,377 patients have recovered while 3,375 have died.
Himachal Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said on Monday (June 14) that although the government has removed the condition of bringing an RT-PCR negative report for entering the state, tourists must follow COVID guidelines. He said tourists would be monitored through registration on the COVID e-pass software. He said pass applicants have to enter their particulars in the online system and that details of their arrival were being shared with all the stakeholders concerned.
The Shimla police said at least 5,000 vehicles entered the state capital from the Shoghi barrier on June 12-13. “We anticipated the increase in the tourist movement during the weekend, but what is heartening to note is that people are following Covid protocols,” he told ANI.
Chawla said 10 additional police reserves are deployed in the whole district along with traffic police to manage the influx of tourist vehicles.
Domestic boutique hotels and resorts – in Kashmir, Ladakh and Nainital – have reported a sudden boost from domestic bookings, saying that the offseason October-February period too looked pretty busy.
Along with Kashmir, Manali (Himachal), Rishikesh (Uttarakhand) and Mussoorie have re-emerged the easy getaways, travel sources said.