Protocol put in place for entry of tourists in J&K

Only those coming by air to be permitted; RTPCR testing compulsory

Nishikant Khajuria
JAMMU, July 12: Amidst increasing number of COVID-19 cases and consequent declaration of more containment zones in Jammu and Kashmir, the Union Territory Government today issued guidelines for entry of tourists in J&K and the persons engaged in the hospitality sector
As per the guidelines, only the tourists coming by air shall be permitted from outside J&K and there shall be compulsory COVID testing for them on their arrival at the airport besides while these external visitors also must having pre-booked accommodation and transport facility.
The guidelines, issued by the State Executive Committee, Department of Disaster Manage-ment, Relief Rehabilitation and Reconstruction, shall come into force with effect from July 14, 2020, with an objective to partially open the Tourism sector in a phased manner while following a protocol by the tourists as well as the persons engaged in the hospitality sector, in view of the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic situation.
In phase-I, commencing from July 14, there will be partial opening of the Tourism sector for external visitors from outside J&K, limited to tourists arriving by air only, who must have confirmed hotel bookings for the duration of their stay as well as confirmed return air tickets, either to their departure point or any other destination outside J&K.
The tourists have to mandatorily pre-book their accommodation online in hotels, houseboats or guesthouses etc and proof of the same shall be check on arrival while Taxis/transport facility also have to be pre-booked through hotel/travel agency, for which procedures will be put in place by Tourism Department.
On arrival at the airport, there shall be compulsory RTPCR testing of all the tourists, who will remain in the hotel where booking has been made and shall not be permitted to move out till the test shows a negative result for COVID-19. A form to this effect shall have to be signed at the airport and the hotel management is required to ensure compliance with this protocol.
Test result will normally arrive within 24 hours except in special circumstances and the tourists testing positive will be sent for treatment to a medical facility as per the protocol.
Those tourists arriving with COVID negative report from their departure point will not be required to remain isolated in hotels. They shall, however, be also required to give their sample for RTPCR testing on arrival at the airport.
All tourists should have the Aarogya Setu app installed on their phones, which shall be checked for `safe’ status on the app at the time of arrival before entering the airport premises.
Travel agents, hotels, houseboats and guesthouses shall provide pick-up facility from the airport and vice-versa for their tourist guests. Prescribed social distancing norms shall be followed everywhere during the transportation.
The Tourism Department will make arrangements to ensure that the guidelines are followed in all respects whereas tourists above the age of 65 have been suggested to avoid coming J&K on a tourism holiday.
While issuing the guidelines under Section 24 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, the State Executive Committee has warned that any deviation from this order number 67-JK-(DMRRR) of 2020, dated 12-07-2020, shall attract penal action.
Even as the much talked about guidelines have been issued with an objective to open the Tourism sector in a phased manner, it is unlikely to encourage the tourists for visiting J&K in view of the prevailing COVID-19 situation and the protocol put in place for them.