With no respite from the Cornavirus pandemic, the tribal natives of Spiti have decided to adhere to self-imposed ‘no tourism activities in their area.
The natives under the banner of Spiti Tourism Society, Kaza, has appealed to the both domestic as well as the foreign travellers and tourist, not to visit the area, as the Spiti valley is closed for any kind of tourism activity for this year, specifically till 31 October.
The tourism activities includes jeep safaris, package tours, trekking and camping.
The natives have further urged the tourist to postpone their travel plans for this season to Spiti and help collectively make Spiti Valley live through winters, so that in following season, it will be safest destination to travel.
The decision was taken after multiple meetings with the native population comprising of all tourism stakeholders like hoteliers, homestay owners, guides, travel associates, cab drivers, panchayat representatives, Community for Preventive Measures and Sustainable Development (CPMSD), Spiti constituted to fight Covid-19 challenges, Mahila Mandal, Beopar Mandal and Yuva Mandal.
Spiti Tourism Society President , Tsering Bodh said that in a written commnique to the Sub Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Jeewan Singh Negi, the natives have asserted that the decision is made considering the consequences of the pandemic on high altitude region of Spiti valley, which has limited medical facilities, underdeveloped infrastructure and extreme geographical conditions with harsh winters and pre existing medical condition of Acute Mountain Sickness.
As the winters are around the corner, the valley experiences harsh climatic conditions and the rise in coronavirus cases across the country and the influx of tourist is bound make the natives vulnerable and expose them to risks, he added.
During winters, the remote valley will be far more vulnerable than normal and any one needing medical assistance will need to be taken outside Spiti for treatment and maintaining social distancing in cold harsh winters will not be possible.
CPMSD, Spiti expert member Sonam Targay said, “We collectively believe that our valley cannot afford to get exposed to this pandemic before the winters, considering that we still do not have a single case of Covid-19 in our local community,” he said, adding that the decision to close down tourism is difficult one for them as the valley depends heavily on tourism, however it is a necessary step to help curb the entry of Covid-19 in the valley.
Spiti Valley which has lately come up as the most sought after tourist destination, was the first in the country to have taken the decision to impose lockdown on 16 March, before the nationwide lockdown. Since then there has been no tourism related activity in the area.