Tamil Nadu

As restrictions ease, tourists start trickling into hill stations in T.N.

Back in business: Tourists thronging Bryant Park in Kodaikanal on Monday.   | Photo Credit: HANDOUT_E_MAIL

With the Tamil Nadu government easing the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions and doing away with e-registration and e-pass for intra- and inter-district travel, tourists have started trickling into popular hill stations.

Bryant Park, one of the major attractions in Kodaikanal, was reopened after 75 days. Visitors were screened before entry.

Rajan, a tourist from Rajapalayam, drove to Kodaikanal to take a break from the lockdown.

“For all these months since April 2020, I did not leave my house. With the situation having improved, I am planning to stay here for the next two to three days,” he said.

Lack of guidelines

However, in Yercaud and the Nilgiris, all parks and attractions remained closed as the administration waited for specific orders, officials said.

According to officials of the Horticulture Department, six parks and eco-tourism sites under the Forest Department in Yercaud remained closed due to lack of government guidelines.

Nilgiris Collector J. Innocent Divya said the district administration was awaiting orders from the State government to reopen tourist spots. While restrictions on the movement of visitors from other parts of Tamil Nadu had been lifted, visitors from other States, including Kerala and Karnataka, would still have to apply for an e-pass and await approval before entering the district, officials said.

But with the lockdown severely affecting the finances of almost everyone, taxi operators like Adbul at the Seven-Road junction in Kodaikanal said the government should extend some assistance to them. “We expect the government to give us financial assistance and also waive the interest on EMI for car loans for a year,” he said.

Meanwhile, restaurants across Tamil Nadu resumed dine-in service after a long gap. Only 50% of patrons were allowed at a time, as per the government guidelines. Places of worship were thrown open to devotees after many weeks. Clubs and hotels ushered in patrons. Long-distance bus services resumed across the State, with uniform relaxations being offered.

(With inputs from Bureaus in Madurai and Coimbatore)

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Printable version | Sep 29, 2021 2:06:50 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/as-restrictions-ease-tourists-start-trickling-into-hill-stations-in-tn/article35158303.ece

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