Kashmir reopens for tourists with SOPs and guidelines

Written By: Ieshan Bashir Wani WION
Srinagar Published: Jul 14, 2020, 05:50 PM(IST)

Jammu and Kashmir Photograph:( WION )

Story highlights

Some of the SOPs laid by the government include the testing of tourists for COVID at the airport, pre-booking of hotels and taxis, and confirmed return air tickets outside the union territory. Persons above the age of 65 should avoid coming on a tourism holiday. 


One of the key tourism destinations in India, Jammu and Kashmir, has reopened for tourists but with all new SOPs and regulations by the authorities amid Coronavirus scare. The industry which has been marred by several issues for over a year now is pinning hopes to a brighter summer. 

The development comes as authorities have ordered a fresh lockdown in the Srinagar city and areas which have been categorized as containment zones after growing cases. The partial reopening is happening in a phased manner and only tourists reaching valley by air would be allowed to enter Jammu and Kashmir.

Some of the SOPs laid by the government include the testing of tourists for COVID at the airport, pre-booking of hotels and taxis, and confirmed return air tickets outside the union territory. Persons above the age of 65 should avoid coming on a tourism holiday. 

People associated with the sector have been facing a tough time. They believe that the decision would help in sending the right message but don't expect a big relief. 

"The tourists should come, we welcome this decision. I think its the right decision but now, it's up to the tourists as there are protocols for them which they have to follow," says Mohd Hafiz Shalla, a tourism operator in Srinagar.


The authorities have also applied similar types of SOPs for the Amarnath pilgrims and have cut shot the duration this year amid a continuous spike in the number of positive cases in J&K. The gardens and parks have also been thrown open but have faced criticism due to a fresh lockdown ordered by the authorities. 

"We had pinned hoped on Amarnath pilgrims but they would come and head back without any benefit to the local tourism sector," says Ali Mohammad, a Shikara owner. 

The economy of the erstwhile state has been badly hit post the abrogation of J&K special status which witnessed many days of curfew and restrictions. The tourism sector of the valley had pinned their hopes to this summer but the spread of coronavirus has brought down curtains on their hopes.

Read in App