With an increase in the number of tourists visiting popular West Bengal destinations, local governments in various parts of the state are asking local tourism players to ensure that only fully vaccinated travelers or those with COVID test reports -19 negatives are allowed to book hotels, lodges and homestays.
Popular destinations where regulation has already been implemented are the hills of Darjeeling, Dooars and Digha and its adjacent beaches.
On July 13, the local government of Darjeeling Hills and Dooars region made it mandatory that travelers arriving from outside West Bengal to these places must be in possession of a certificate stating that they have received the two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine or have a negative RTPCR report less than 48 hours old when they arrive.
The media quoted the Darjeeling District Magistrate as saying that all stakeholders have been made aware of the rules and have been urged to strictly enforce them. Currently, the rules apply to people arriving from out of state, not residents of West Bengal.
However, the administration of Contai (Purba Medinipur) under whose jurisdiction is Digha and a series of other popular beaches such as Mandarmani, Tajpur and Shankarpur, has implemented the rules for all travelers, including those in the West Bengal.
With the easing of pandemic containment regulations and the restart of tourist buses between Calcutta and these destinations, there has been a significant influx of tourists in the first two weeks of July.
The administration decided on July 12 that only those who are in possession of a certificate attesting that they have received the two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine or who have a negative RT PCR or RAT report less than 48 hours to their arrival in Digha or on the neighboring beaches. , will be allowed to book a hotel in these seaside resorts.
Local hoteliers and other addicts to the tourism industry fear the new rules will affect business. According to many of them, not everyone, especially those in the 18 and over category, received the double vaccine. In addition, obtaining the test reports can also be time consuming. The various travel agencies and tour operators in Darjeeling and Dooars are also awaiting clarification regarding travelers who combine a visit to the region with a trip to Sikkim.