'Covid Tourism' surges in Mount Abu, visitors flock the coronavirus oasis post lockdown

Owing to the diminished case load and pleasant weather, tourists return to Mount Abu in the middle of a pandemic!

Adjusting to the new normal, local tourists have returned in large numbers to the Mount Abu, the only hill station in the desert state of Rajasthan. This has been popularly coined as 'Covid Tourism' by the hospitality sector of the Sirohi district that is equipped with stringent SOP and sanitation protocols, to ensure the safety of the break starved yet anxious tourists.

The Oasis of Abu

The hotels and lodging facilities at the hill station book a full house on the weekends owing to the pleasant weather, rain-washed picturesque and misty mountains along with a rather safe environment due to a diminished coronavirus caseload. The state lost its summer rush but the green zone area has emerged as an oasis in the COVID infected world with its 15 active cases. Owing to the virtue of its location close to the Gujarat Border, Mt Abu has been witnessing a major influx of Gujarati tourists now, though the initial traces of tourist rush were recognised in August. Similarly, an unexpected tourist flow is also being marked in the districts of Udaipur, Jaipur and Jodhpur.

With the onset of monsoon at the hill station kick-started in August, the visiting numbers which were earlier tentatively stilted saw an exponential boom. Hotels and lodging facilities have regulated the booking rates, which are as high as they were during the pre-pandemic days but are cheaper on weekdays. However, as the hotels continue to function at a lowered potential of 40% and the COVID rush is on a steady rise, the prices are climbing proportionately as well.

Stringent safety protocols

Apart from that, all hotels, cafes and restaurants have buckled up their sanitation and safety and health protocols to deal with this rush in the middle of a pandemic. A standard operating protocol further ensures a safer environment for both the locals and the tourists. Non-pharmaceutical measures of social distancing and wearing mask have been made compulsory at public places, monuments, popular spots and lodging facilities to protect the green status of the getaway destination.

While tourism is a key asset in reviving the plunging economy, the state Chief Minister has prioritised public health over other aspects and has directed the officials to ensure a rigorous and stringent imposition of all safety and hygiene protocol and SOPs.

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