Gangtok, April 09: A meeting of the Tourism Stake Holder Associations and the officials of the Tourism & Civil Aviation Department was convened at the conference hall of the Paryatan Bhawan, Tadong on 09-04-2021 under the aegis of Shri. B. S. Panth, Minister for Tourism & Civil Aviation and Commerce & Industries department on Covid – 19 preparedness and to tackle the 2nd wave of the pandemic.
With the continuous rise of the Covid – 19 graph in the state and the entire nation, the Home Department had issued a notification in accordance with the guidelines of the Ministry wherein a Negative RTPCR Test certificate prior to 72 hours on arrival for the visiting tourist was made mandatory. The representatives of the stakeholder associations have expressed their anguish on the above notification which has created confusion among the tourist as well as the stakeholders, thus resulting in the cancellation of many bookings/ reservations.
The stakeholders stated that the onus is always on the Hotels, Restaurants, Tour Operators, Luxury Tourist Vehicles and Tourist Service providers with a severe impact on their livelihoods and businesses while the hotels in neighboring West Bengal, Darjeeling and Kalimpong are operating with full occupancy.
The stakeholders have appealed for the removal of the mandatory Negative RTPCR test certificate prior to 72 hours on arrival from the directives and in return have assured to take full responsibility for taking effective measures in containing the spread of Covid – 19 and would adopt and embrace Covid appropriate behaviors strictly in all their establishments and tourist business operations.
The stakeholders have requested for an appointment with the Hon’ble Chief Minister to express their grievances to which the Hon’ble Minister for Tourism & Civil Aviation has agreed to fix an appointment on the availability of the Hon’ble Chief Minister.
The stakeholders have also placed a demand for considering the stakeholders and the members of the Tourism Industry to be considered at par with the frontline workers and facilitate them in getting their Covid – 19 Vaccination on priority as they directly come in contact with people from all walks of life.
The meeting was also attended by Shri Y. T. Lepcha, Hon’ble Advisor, Tourism & Civil Aviation Department, Shri. Lukendra Rasaily, Hon’ble Chairman, Sikkim Tourism Development Corporation, Dr. K. Jaya Kumar, Additional Chief Secretary, Shri. Kuldeep Chettri, Secretary, Senior Officials of the Tourism & Civil Aviation Department, Shri Roshan Raj Shrestha (SHRA), Norgay Lachungpa (TAAS), Shri Ganesh Shivakothi (SUTO), Shri Jigmee Bhutia (Homestays Association), Shri Chamba C. Sherpa (ASHTHA), President, Luxury Vehicle Association, Rakesh Mohra (ORHAS) and Raj Lama (SHRA) along with their respective office executives.
The meeting ended with the assurance from the Hon’ble Minister for Tourism & Civil Aviation and Commerce & Industries department to look into the demands and problems being faced by the stakeholders. The Hon’ble Minister also appealed to all the stakeholders to co-operate and work collectively and responsively during such trying times owing to the pandemic.