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Home / West-bengal / Sunderbans Tiger Reserve to open from October 1 for tourists

Sunderbans Tiger Reserve to open from October 1 for tourists

All adult visitors must be vaccinated with at least one dose against Covid-19
Senior forest officials said they had taken measures, including training guides and boatmen, to ensure awareness about Covid safety protocols.
Senior forest officials said they had taken measures, including training guides and boatmen, to ensure awareness about Covid safety protocols.
Telegraph file picture

Snehamoy Chakraborty   |   Bolpur(Birbhum)   |   Published 26.09.21, 02:41 AM

The Sunderbans Tiger Reserve will be thrown open to tourists from October 1, with only one condition.

All adult tourists must be vaccinated with at least one dose against Covid-19.

Over half a dozen camps in the eco-tourism chapter of the tiger reserve had been closed in March this year following the outbreak of the second wave, putting all tourism stakeholders of the area, including guides and boatmen, in economic jeopardy.

 “Under government orders, all forest camps in the Sunderbans tiger reserve will be opened to tourists from October 1. The only condition for adults is they need to have at least the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine,” said Jones Justin, deputy field director of the STR.

Senior forest officials said they had taken measures, including training guides and boatmen, to ensure awareness about Covid safety protocols.

“All tourists must follow Covid protocols. Wearing masks is mandatory visiting forest camps. We have sanitised all the camps and our staff are fully vaccinated,” said a forester.

All 55 guides registered with the tiger reserve and over 100 boatmen, have been given both Covid doses.

“Boatmen and resort owners will check if all tourists, except children, have received one vaccine at least. We have held meetings with all stakeholders reminding them of the importance of Covid protocols. Boatmen have been asked not overcrowd to their vessels,” he added.

Tourists to the Sunderbans mainly visit forest camps on several islands, including the Sajnekhali sanctuary, Dobanki, Jhinkhali, Jharkhali and Bali. The sole animal rescue centre where sick tigers and crocodiles are kept for treatment will be closed to tourists.

Sources said at least 10,000 people, including boatmen and owners of homestays or resorts were facing huge financial losses since the reserve closed its camps in March 2021.

“We are facing a huge loss. But now we are hopeful of getting a good number of tourists around the Pujas and this will help us survive,” said Monoranjan Sarkar, the owner of a homestay in Jharkhali of South 24-Parganas.

Officials said guides at the Sunderbans were facing the biggest financial loss.

“Our income became zero after the camps got shut for Covid,” said guide Usha Sankar Sarkar.



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