Even as the rest of the state opens its doors to tourists, the much-visited and idyllic Spiti Valley in Himachal Pradesh will not welcome outsiders this year, so as to keep the native population safe from the infection. The decision has been taken by the Spiti Tourism Society.
In other parts of Himachal Pradesh, the mandatory carrying of an e-pass or registration for tourists is no longer in place. While inter-state buses are barred, inter-state travelling is being allowed. Hotels are also slowly opening up to cater to the needs of tourists, especially in places like Manali, which receives tourists all through the year.
But, the Spiti Tourism Society has made it clear that there will be no tourism activities in the valley this year. A circular that is being widely shared on Twitter reads: “It is with sheer regret that we would like to inform all the travellers and tourists who are planning to head Spiti Valley, that Spiti valley is closed for any kind of tourism activity for this year 2020, specifically till 31st, October 2020. Tourism activity of any kind will not be allowed which includes jeep safaris, package tours, trekking and camping (sic).”
Spiti Tourism Society announces that its closed for tourism for the year 2020
— Himanshu Khagta (@khagta) September 16, 2020
“With the winters approaching, the valley will be far more vulnerable than normal. Any person needing medical assistance will need to be taken outside Spiti for treatment and maintaining social distancing in cold will not be possible… We collectively believe that our valley cannot afford to get exposed to this pandemic before the winters, considering we still do not have a single case of COVID-19 in our local community (sic),” it further states.
The circular also mentions that while the valley is dependent on tourism, this step is important so as to prevent an outbreak of the infection. It requests tourists to “let the valley live through the winters” so that it can continue to remain a safe place to travel in the future.
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