Covid Unlock Opens Doors to Happy and Hungry Hordes of Tourists in Himachal Pradesh

Himachal Pradesh has started witnessing an inflow of tourists following relaxation in COVID restrictions by the state government.

In less than a month starting from June, there has been traffic of around 6-7 lakh tourists in the Himalayan state. As the number of new COVID cases started declining in the country, tourists have started thronging to the destinations like Shimla, Manali, Dharamshala, Dalhousie, Narkanda, and other parts of the state.

Speaking to ANI, Himachal Pradesh Tourism Department Director Amit Kashyap said, “After the government has eased the COVID restrictions, the tourist inflow has picked up. Generally, we receive over 1.3 crore tourists but the COVID-19 pandemic since the last year hit the tourism business. Last year we received only 32 lakh tourists including foreigners. This year till May 31, we received only 13 lakh tourists. But now in June after the restrictions have been relaxed, we have received 6 to 7 Lakh tourists within this period.”

“As the weather conditions are pleasant here and monsoon is delayed, people will continue to come. We have developed the SOPs for the tourists. Meetings were held with the hotel operators, tourism and travel associations. Tourism is a major source of income for the state’s economy and we are trying to revive this business. It is being ensured that the protocol is being followed,” Kashyap added.

The rising inflow of tourists can easily be felt with the vehicular traffic jams seen in places like Shimla, Manali, and Dharamshala.

“I am coming from Delhi and it is been a long time we could not move out due to lockdown conditions. We have come here with safety measures. We have some plans as it is expected the third wave of the COVID pandemic will hit the country. Also, the lockdown conditions are relaxed and we wanted to grab this period to get ourselves refreshed before the third wave enters,” Nishant, a tourist from Delhi told ANI

Meanwhile, visuals of the heavily crowded streets in various parts of the state have surfaced on social media. Some users expressed concern and disappointment over social distancing and safety, while some users took a jibe sharing memes and jokes on them.

(With ANI Inputs)

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