Sikkim is planning to open its door for the tourists from the October. The state tourism following a meeting on Friday with all the stake holders to discuss a strategy for reopening the tourism came up with a draft of proposal on ‘reopening of state tourism’.
The draft mentions “The State cannot afford to abrogate its tourism industry for long. The resumption of tourism is likely to increase the probability of transmission of the disease. Still, it becomes imperative for us to ensure that the highest standards of health safety measures are put in place before we open the doors for tourism”.
Stating the fact that while the reopening of the state is extremely important, considering 15% of the state’s population depend upon the tourism based employment, there should be strict guidelines to check the health and safety issues keeping in mind the pandemic of Covid 19 throughout the country.
The draft laid down the following terms of guidelines for various aspects of tourism during the reopening of the sector:
For the tourists coming to Sikkim :
1. The first phase of reopening will be considered only for domestic tourists.
2. All tourists travel in Sikkim to be permitted only for pre-booked/package tours (arrival to departure -Sikkim).
3. Only those tourists with valid COVID-19 negative certificates, (ICMR recognised hospital/labs) conducted within three days before their arrival (to be produced at the Check post) shall be allowed to continue their tour to Sikkim.
4. Only two entry points Rangpo and Melli will be permitted for tourist entries in the 1st phase. (to be decided by the government).
5. All tourists, to have registered their requisite details in the Web portal of the Department before arriving at the entry checkposts. (Their concerned travel agent/operator may help them with the registration).
6. The State government, based on the prevailing circumstances, will decide on the number of accommodation units to be authorised or permitted for operations in different phases.
For the Hotels and Home Stays:
1. Capacity: The first phase reopening to be provisioned for a maximum capacity of 2500 rooms or 5000 guests per day in the whole of the State, which is left to be decided by the government.
2. Containment Zones: No hotels/ homestays in the notified containment zones will be permitted to operate.
3. Occupancy: The permitted accommodation units shall not take more than 50% occupancy per day.
4. Room allocation: The room allocation to the guest shall be made in line with the social distancing norms, preferably one-room apart (alternative rooms).
5. Emergency isolation facility: The permitted accommodation units to designate and prepare at least one room for emergency isolation for emergency management of any suspected cases.
6. Room Reservation: The guest will have the option of booking accommodation in the state either by themselves or through OTAs or local travel agents. However, all transport and ground handling services are to be booked through permitted authorized local travel agents only.
7. Compliance: The accommodation units – noncompliant to the Operational Recommendation issued by the MOT and Post COVID Protocols for the Hospitality industry issued by the Government of Sikkim, as well as the standard protocols issued by the Health Department shall not be permitted for operations in the 1st phase.