The tourism sector in India has declined by more than 50% in the last 2 weeks following strict Covid-19 curbs and restrictions all across the country. Tourist hotspots in the hills and the beaches have been flocked by tourists as soon as the curbs were eased after the second wave in the country. However, in view of an inevitable third wave, restrictions have been again put into place. Expensive Covid-19 tests and unavailability of transportation lead to a fall in tourism, leaving the hoteliers staring at a loss.
Tourist hotspots like Manali, Shimla, Nainital, Gangtok, Goa, Kerala, Digha, and Darjeeling witnessed a sudden rush of tourists as lockdown eased. People with one or no doses of vaccines ventured out in view that as long as 1st dose vaccination certificate and Covid-19 reports are present, no one will get Covid-19. However, it is not the first time the tourists have spread the virus to the locals despite taking all precautions. Excessive tourism was one of the main reasons for the spreading of the delta variant of Covid-19 in India. Also, after the second wave, sporadic outbreaks are seen in some tourist hotspots in the country, spreading quickly among the locals.
The tourism sector has been hit hard by the pandemic throughout the first and second waves. Now, a third wave may sweep through the country if measures are not taken. Scientists have urged people not to venture out unless it is absolutely necessary. The Government is also taking the same path, allowing little transportation, banning large gatherings, and restrictions on hoteliers. Parks have been restricted to only those who are fully vaccinated, and hotels can allow only those guests who carry an RT-PCR Covid-19 negative test report. However, some restricted places like Lakshadweep have seen a surge in Covid-19 cases as the Government did away with mandatory 14-day quarantine. The rising number of Covid-19 cases in Kerala can be attributed to the tourism sector as well.
Trains are running throughout the country, though the local trains have been put off the track. Heritage trains have been non-operational since the first wave. However, numerous tourist facilities like boating, cruise, ropeway, and opening of shrines and religious places have opened, prompting tourists to rush in. Opening the tourism sector is also important as it will generate a huge chunk of the population that depends entirely on it. With the third wave knocking on the door, the Governments must unite and try to minimize its effect as much as possible. Most importantly, the tourists must take precautions as much as possible and must be fined in case of any violation. Also, it is urged to everyone to follow Government advice and Covid-19 protocols as much as possible to avoid any further outbreak of pandemic in the country.
Written by – Himadri Paul