Ooty, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Tamil Nadu, has opened its doors in a staggered manner to receive travellers after the COVID-19 pandemic-triggered long lull.
The district administration has allowed tourists to visit this famed hill station from September 9 but they have to take special e-passes. District Collector J Innocent Divya said that the tourists should follow COVID-19 safety protocol and only limited e-passes would be issued.
The tourists can also stay for a few days as the authorities have given the nod to hotels and resorts to resume operations. “The visitors are allowed entry to the botanical garden, rose garden, Coonoor Sim’s Park, Kotagiri Nehru Park, and Kattery Park on Mettupalayam-Coonoor road,” said the district collector.
Gardens of Nilgiris reopen
People were allowed entry to gardens and parks such as the botanical gardens, rose garden, tea park, Coonoor Sim's Park, and Kattery Park from September 9. These facilities were closed on March 22 in the wake of the spread of the contagious coronavirus. Nearly 115 people, including 8 children, visited the botanical garden on September 9. Joint director of Horticulture Shiva Subramaniam Samaraj said that 52 and 21 people visited the rose garden and Coonoor Sim's Park respectively on the first of reopening. He added that the visitors should follow the protocol relating to COVID-19 while entering gardens and parks.
The reopening of Ooty provides a ray of hope for the tourism industry that has been gasping for air following the epidemic-induced travel restrictions across the globe. Everyone is keeping fingers crossed with the anticipation that the flow of tourists would pick up in the coming days.
Swapan Kumar, who runs a shop near the botanical garden, said that it was very difficult to make ends meet in the COVID-19 times.