New Delhi:  The surge in coronavirus cases in the deadly second wave in the country has massively impacted travel and tourism sector. The most popular travel destinations like Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand were forced to close their borders from April this year due to the COVID situation in the country.Also Read - Himachal Pradesh Lockdown Update: Govt Makes Negative RT-PCR Report Mandatory For Tourists | Other Details Here

Strict lockdowns and COVID19-related restrictions were imposed in both the states due to the sudden surge in the coronavirus cases in India. In fact, being the states that derive most of their revenues from the tourism sector, businesses in Himachal and Uttarakhand also faced many financial difficulties. Also Read - Covid19: THIS Place in India Becomes First Fully Vaccinated Travel Destination

However, good news is that now tourists from Delhi and NCR can again be seen flocking to the hills as the number of COVID cases are decreasing in most states of the country and the nationwide vaccination drive is amplified. Also Read - Good News For Students From India as France Relaxes Covid Travel Restrictions. Check Details

While the restrictions in Himachal Pradesh have relaxed marginally, Uttarakhand still remains under stringent COVID-related rules and regulations.

Check out the latest guidelines for tourists planning a trip to Himachal Pradesh & Uttarakhand

HIMACHAL PRADESH

The guidelines that the tourist travelling to Himachal Pradesh have to follow are:

1. As per the latest guidelines, negative RT-PCR test report is no more required to enter the state.

2. Section 144 has been lifted in the state.

On Friday, Himachal cabinet decided to allow shops in the state to remain open from 9 am to 5 pm from June 14 onwards. The shops, however, will remain closed on Saturdays and Sundays. The 5 pm-5 am Covid curfew will also remain in place.

In a circular (https://himachaltourism.gov.in/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Additional-SOPs-for-Operation-of-Tourism-Units.pdf) of Department of Tourism and Civil Aviation of Himachal Pradesh government, some Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for tourism units have been issued:

1. The swimming pools, auditoriums and assembly halls in the hotels shall remain closed.

2. All tourists will strictly follow the Safety and Hygiene guidelines for operation of tourism units issued time to time by the Ministry of Home Affairs & Dept of Tourism, etc.

UTTARAKHAND

As per the Uttarakhand government, the state is under lockdown till June 15. Only small shops and markets are open from 10 am to 5 pm. The state government has not yet allowed the hotels, restaurants and resorts to reopen.

Besides, the tourists coming from other states have to show their RT-PCR negative report. But people/residents from Garhwal to Kumaun and Kumaun to Garhwal can move around without the Covid-19 negative report.

Please note that people coming from outside the state have to compulsorily register on Smart City’s web portal ‘http://smartcitydehradun.uk.gov.in’.

Meanwhile Uttarakhand’s tourism industry has pinned its hope on a relief package for hoteliers, owners of roadside eateries, tour and travel operators and people connected with adventure tourism who are facing a livelihood crisis.

Uttarakhand Tourism and Culture Minister Satpal Maharaj told news agency PTI, “Tourism is out bread and butter and it has suffered at multiple levels due to the pandemic.”

While the losses caused by the second wave in 2021 have not been estimated yet, the sector suffered a loss of Rs 1600 crore in 2020 besides rendering 23,000 people jobless, Maharaj said.

(With inputs from PTI)