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Kerala opens all tourism spots, except beaches

Houseboats on the backwaters of Kerala in Alappuzha

Kerala today opened its tourism destinations, barring beaches, for visitors by strictly adhering to COVID-19 protocol, signaling the revival of the revenue-generating industry that remained shut for the last seven months following the outbreak of the pandemic.

As per the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) issued by the Government in this regard, the visitors will have to follow Break the Chain norms including wearing masks, use of soap and sanitizer and social distancing.

The destinations and services that have resumed receiving guests include houseboats on backwaters, personalized boating and adventure tourism spots, which normally have controlled access where it is easy to implement the SMS (Social distancing, Mask and Soap Sanitizer) norm. Hill stations will also be made accessible to tourists, ensuring that there is no overcrowding.

Destinations that have un-controlled access like beaches will be opened from November 1, where also the SOPs will be implemented strictly.

“The State Tourism Department and service providers are totally committed to ensuring a safe and happy stay for guests. Directions have been given to officials also to see that the safety protocols are fully complied with”, State Tourism Minister Shri Kadakampally Surendran said.

“The stakeholders in the tourism sector have to follow the SOPs and Guidelines and make Kerala a responsible tourism destination to welcome tourists. The tourists are also required to follow the Guidelines and support the measures taken by the State Government to combat COVID-19,” said Tourism Secretary Smt Rani George IAS.

The domestic tourists coming for short visits of less than seven days are exempted from quarantine but they should register at the COVID Jagratha portal. If tourists plan to extend their stay for more than seven days, they have to undergo a test at their cost on the 7th day at ICMR/ state government approved laboratories. Visitors are advised to avoid travel if they are symptomatic.

Hospitality facilities, tourism transport operators and other services such as hotels, resorts, houseboats, Ayurveda centres, homestays, service villas and adventure activity centres will have to go by the SOPs.

The service providers should ensure that health and safety parameters such as temperature check, wearing of a mask, frequent sanitisation, disinfection and contactless screening for guests are followed.