Is it Safe to Travel & Plan Kerala Tour During and Post Corona Pandemic?
Kerala is one of the best travel destinations with lush green forest, breathtaking hill stations, the famous Alleppey backwaters, and the best beaches like Kovalam, Marari, and Cherai Beach, where till last year domestic tourist spends their everlasting memorable holidays. This year Corona restricts tourists to visit holiday destinations. As the government lifting the lockdown slowly and gradually for tourist places, everyone has a question that Is it safe to travel Kerala now? Is it safe to plan a Kerala tour during COVID 19?. We know our guests worry. So we are sharing all information you want to know while planning the Kerala tour during COVID 19.
How Kerala Tourism Suffers in Corona COVID-19 Pandemic?
Due to the spreading of COVID – 19, most of the tours are closed down by mid or end of Mar 2020. COVID -19 forced us to sit at the home for some time and we hope that all these pandemic will be there for some time. Therefore, Kerala Govt has decided to restart tourism in Kerala, along with they want to ensure that the guests who are desperately want to visit Kerala should not have any difficulty due to COVID -19. The Govt of India and Kerala Govt have issued strict rules and regulations to be implemented while restarting tourism in Kerala. So this article also covers what are the measures that should be taken care of all the stakeholders while opening tourism during and post Covid-19.
Travel Safety Prepared by the Kerala Government for TouristsUnlock Best Deal on Kerala Tour Package Now
Govt of India has already issued instructions to be followed all over the country by the tourism stakeholders. Kerala Govt also issued certain standing operating procedures to be followed by hotels, restaurants, taxi operators, tour operators, activity providers, and guides about the safety of the tourists. These details are given below in the succeeding paragraphs.
What Makes Kerala the Safest Tourist Destination During Corona COVID-19 Pandemic?
Kerala tourism stakeholders whether it is Govt administration, hotels, tour operator, activity provider, guides, taxi drivers, all those who directly or indirectly connected with tourism in Kerala till now ensured that tourists who are coming to Kerala surely have a memorable holiday. The result of these sincere efforts by all made Kerala the Best Destination for tourists before the pandemic. Post Covid-19 Kerala is one of the preferred destinations among travelers due to below the reasons.
- Community spreading in Kerala is much lesser than compared to all other states. That means, the Govt effectively controlled the spreading till now.
- Positive COVID patients immediately shifted to Govt hospitals, route map of patients prepared, and persons who are in contact with the COVID positive patient identified, asked to remain quarantined at home. This has effectively handled by the concerned authorities.
- Over 2 lakhs ex-pats returned from overseas due to COVID -19. Still the pandemic was in effective control of the administration.
- Law enforcement agencies have strictly monitored the implementation of face cover/mask, spitting in public places– all these arrangements made effective control. The public is also aware of the situation and all the people cooperate for a common cause.
- Second lowest death rate as compared to the national average.
- To make the destination safe and to ensure the tourists while holidaying in Kerala to be safe, Govt has issued specific strict instructions to be followed to all stakeholders of Tourism – like hotels, tour operators, taxi drivers, activity providers, houseboats, etc. This means the State is more concerned about the safety of the tourist who is planning a visit to Kerala.
- World Tourism and Travel Council – Safe Travels stamp Awarded to ATTOI. It’s a proud moment to Kerala Tourism and ATTOI in particular as we are the only State to get such an award as on today. This stamp includes protocols to be implemented by all stakeholders of tourism for better and safe tourism for travelers during and post-COVID 19. Know more about Safe Travel Stamp.
So, Kerala is one of the safest places where people can plan a holiday when tourism is open up in Oct 2020.Unlock Best Deal on Kerala Tour Package Now
Must Read: How to Plan your 7 days tour to Kerala
About Srees Tours
Srees Tours is an online Tour Operator based in Kochi, founded by Mr. Sreekumar MP, who is an ex-Army person. Below are the salient features about SreesTours.
- Start operation during 2005.
- Till now service is given to 23816 happy guests who are from within India and abroad.
- Accredited tour operator by Kerala Govt, Tourism Department.
- 4th Best Tour Operator and earned Travelers Choice Award 2020 by Trip Advisor.
- Lake View luxury houseboats at Alleppey owned by Srees Tours.
Must Read: Best places to visit in Kochi
Latest Instructions for the Stakeholders of Kerala TourismUnlock Best Deal on Kerala Tour Package Now
As mentioned earlier, the Kerala Govt has issued several instructions to be implemented by all stakeholders directly or indirectly connected with Kerala Tourism. These details are given below.
Important Things to Know Before Planning Kerala Trip During Corona COVID-19 Pandemic
When you are planning a trip to Kerala during and post-COVID -19, you must know lots of information, whether it is issued by the Central or State Govt so that the Tour Operator, Hotels, Taxi drivers, activity providers, and Guests who are coming to Kerala for a visit, should have clear idea or information about present rules and regulations. Therefore, Srees Tours has collected lots of information about recent rules and regulations which are given in succeeding paragraphs.
Since a tour package is involved many people like travel agency, hotel, taxi, houseboat, activity providers, religious places, shopping malls, etc. Below is the summary of rules and regulations recently issued which needs to be followed by the tourist and all stakeholders of Kerala Tourism.
Planning Kerala Tour? Go Through 10 Most Important Things for Travellers
Here, we are mentioning some important things for the tourists. There is a different guideline for Indian tourists and foreign tourists. Just go through the guidelines and plan the Kerala tour during COVID 19 accordingly.
Guidelines for Indian Tourists
- You must register before entering Kerala. Here is the link for the same. https://covid19jagratha.kerala.nic.in
- All those who are coming to Kerala must go for 14 days home quarantine. But those who are coming on a short tour of 7 days or less, they do not need to be quarantined for 14 days.
- Persons of 65 yrs and above, pregnant women, and children below the age of 10 yrs are advised to remain in hotels only.
- Face masks are compulsory during your visit to Kerala.
- Spitting in public places is prohibited, frequent hand washing and use of sanitizer, etc.
Guidelines for Foreign Country
- Those who are coming from a foreign country must register in https://covid19jagratha.kerala.nic.in
- 14 days home quarantine is a must. Those who do not have a quarantine in-home possible, they can move to places earmarked by the govt.
- Test on arrival at the Airport. In case of a positive result, direct transfer to Govt hospital.
- If possible try to avoid contact with the staff of Hotels or Tour operators. Therefore, ensure you have cardless payment, all details are given to Tour Operator so that they in turn give these to hotels, etc.
- Self-monitoring of health frequently. In case of any ill-feeling, ask for medical assistance or contact your tour operator/ cab driver/ hotel staff.
Must Read: How to plan your trip to Kerala
Note: We humbly request you to adhere to all the rules given above by the authorities which have been issued for your safe Kerala tour during COVID 19.
20 Most Important things to be followed by Hotels or Holiday Rentals
Below are the most important things to be followed by the Kerala hotels, guest houses, homestays, etc
- Entrance to have mandatory hand hygiene and thermal screening provisions.
- Hand sanitizers must be kept at the reception for guests to use.
- Guests to sanitize hands before and after filling relevant forms including A&D register.
- Staff and guests must use face cover/masks and it should be worn all the time while staying in a hotel.
- Hotel staff should wear gloves.
- Proper crowd management in hotels. Hotels should ensure social distancing in and outside premises like parking lots, gardens, etc.
- Large gatherings continue to remain prohibited. If valet parking is available, make sure that operating staff is using face cover/masks and gloves
- Need to organize separate entry and exit for guests, staff, and for goods & supplies
- Specific markings should be made to maintain social and physical distancing of a minimum of 5 feet when queuing up for entry and inside the hotel as far as feasible.
- The number of people in the elevators shall be restricted.
- Hotels must adopt contactless processes like QR code, online forms, digital payments like e-wallet, etc, for both check-in and check-out.
- Luggage should be disinfected before sending the luggage to the rooms.
- Guests who are at higher risk i,e. those who are older, pregnant, or those who have underlying medical conditions are advised to take extra precautions.
- Appropriate personal protection gears like face covers/masks, gloves and hand sanitizers, etc. shall be made available by the hotel to the staff.
- Maintain social distance during communicating guests and staff. Prefer a mobile phone for interaction with guests and maintain social distance during room service.
- Gaming Arcades/children play areas (wherever applicable), swimming pool, etc shall remain closed.
- The temperature setting of all air-conditioned rooms should be in the range of 2.4-30c, humidity in the rage of 40-70%o, intake of as much as fresh air as possible, and cross ventilation should be adequate.
- The use of liquid soaps may be made mandatory in Hotels.
- Common towels may not be used for wiping hands.
Must Read: How to Book Hotels in Kerala
How Restaurants will Take Precaution for Guests?
- Seating arrangement in the restaurant is also to be made in such a way that adequate social distancing is maintained.
- Disposable menus are advised to be used.
- Instead of cloth napkins, use of good quality disposable paper napkins to be encouraged.
- Contactless mode of ordering and digital mode of payment (using e-wallets) to be encouraged.
10 Most Important Things to be Followed by Houseboat
Unlike earlier times, the Govt has made many strict instructions to be followed by the houseboat and staff prior to guest check-in. Some of the other instructions issued are that the boat is not allowed to dock for buying toddy, extra fish, or for a village walk. Below are the important procedures to be followed by the Kerala houseboat and its staff.
- Staff should remove their footwear or sanitize before entering the boat.
- Sanitization of Boats. The boat floor needs to be sanitized using 200mg per liter Sodium Hypochlorite, bathroom, and WC using a 6% solution of TCCA-90. All possible contact places like handles, faucet knobs, shower knobs, electrical switches, etc with Dettol.
- Kitchen equipment, surfaces, cooking, and serving utensils using a 6% solution of TCCA-90 and rinsed properly.
- Food items brought to the boat should be washed properly before preparation.
- Foodservice staff must use gloves while serving food and beverages.
- Before the check-in of the guest, body temperature is taken and luggage is sanitized in 200 mg per liter strength Sodium Hypochlorite solution.
- Guests are not allowed to leave the boat or alight any place they desire.
- The boat will not be allowed to dock at any other place than the night halt location.
- After checking out the guest, the staff undergoes temperature reading.
- Staff to collect all linen other than the bedspread carefully and placed in the center of the bed. Remove the bedspread from under the bed and fold it into the center of the bed without touching inside and transported to laundry.
Latest Instructions for the Kerala Taxi Driver
If you are on a multi-day tour of more than two days and visiting destinations that are located a little far off from Kochi like Munnar, Thekkedy, and Alleppey, you need a car and driver at disposal. Especially the car driver needs to be highly experienced and knowledgeable. He is the backbone of a memorable holiday in Kerala. The authorities have issued instructions to be adhered to by the car driver are below.
- The transparent partition should be made inside the vehicle so that direct contact with the driver by the guest is avoided.
- Disinfection of interior of a vehicle using 1% sodium hypochlorite solution/ spray. Proper disinfection of steering, door handles, keys, etc. should be taken up.
- He should know the attractions or sightseeing places which are declared as containment zone and prohibit guest visiting these places.
Must Read: How to book your taxi in Kerala
Latest Instructions for Visit Kerala Religious Places
In case, during the trip, if you would like to visit any temple, below are the instruction issued for visiting a temple.
- Name and details of persons coming to places of worship along with the visiting time may be recorded in a register kept in each place. The guest should carry his own pen for the same.
- The number of persons at a time may be decided on the basis of the area of religious/worship place. 15 persons per 100 sq ft. can be taken as a parameter. In any case, the number of persons should not exceed 100 at a time.
- Anna daanam, Distribution of prasadam, Chandan, Bhasmam, etc or blessings by touching shall not be permitted.
- Water through taps alone should be used for cleaning body parts. Taking water from a common tank using mugs etc. shall not be allowed.
- If required, E token system with time stamping for crowd control and demarcation for social distancing also should be promoted.
Must Read: Famous Temples of Kerala
Latest Instructions for the Tour Operators
As of now, the govt has not issued any specific instruction to be followed by tour operators and travel agencies. But being a responsible tour operator, Srees Tours has issued some of the important guidelines to be followed by us is given at the end of this article for safe the Kerala tour during COVID 19.
How Srees Tours will Take care of Guests?
As a responsible tour operator, Srees Tours will provide below special or specific extra services to our guests are below.
- Our driver will be infection-free for the last 14 days.
- We will take care that drivers residing in the containment zone will not be allowed or permitted to drive tourists.
- We make ensure that inside the taxi is partitioned to avoid contact with the driver, hygienically sanitized inside and outside every day.
- Special attention is given to the cleaning of doors, handles, steering, and other places where the guest or driver usually touched or used.
- We ensure that the driver has the knowledge of containment zones he ensures that the guest is not visited these places.
- We used to collect self-declaration form from the guest in advance and given this to the respective hotels so that the guest is not filling any forms at the hotel. This service is being provided to a guest who books hotels with SreesTours.
- We have a cardless payment facility for guests available.
Remember These 10 Points During Kerala Trip
There are many instructions that are issued for the stakeholders, we would like to again remind our guest about below important points, read carefully and implement so that we wish your trip in Kerala is memorable, take back lots of memories, and are safe after the trip.
- Try to avoid going to the reception to sign up.
- As far as possible, not to take or try to avoid room service.
- Avoid visiting sightseeing places if found crowded.
- If you are staying 2 or more nights in a hotel, try to avoid room cleaning service. In case you just need a room service, ask the service staff to wear a PPE kit (Hotel may charge extra upto Rs 1000 for this)
- Carry thermoses with you so that you can drink hot water frequently.
- Try to book a private houseboat rather than a “Sharing boat”.
- Try to stay in an independent villa rather than a hotel which has many sides by side rooms. If it’s a hotel, try to stay in a small hotel with limited rooms – this will avoid contact with many people and the crowd in the restaurant, reception, etc.
- Try to book your trip with a recognized Tour Operator so that you get most of the updates and in case of any help, they are always ready for the same.
- Try to avoid a common swimming pool even if that is available in your hotel.
- Lastly, when you are looking for ayurvedic treatment or massage, ensure that you take a steam bath immediately after that. Most of the ayurvedic massage followed by a steam bath. But to reduce the cost most of the centers do not provide this facility.
After reading this article you might be satisfied with the safety measures organized by the Kerala government and you will feel safe to plan a Kerala tour during COVID 19. It is true that COVID 19 has restricted tourism in many ways. However, we can overcome this situation by following safety measures and social distancing.
Kerala Government taking precautions for the visitors by releasing guidelines. We, the Kerala government and tour operators, are putting best efforts to welcome tourists by creating possible safeties for them. So without thinking too much pack your bag and plan a Kerala tour during COVID 19.
Article by: Sreekumar MP
Founder: Srees Tours, Kochi