Port Blair, June 24: The Andaman Association of Tour Operators (AATO) has requested the Andaman & Nicobar Administration to formulate Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) to restart tourism industry in the islands.

In a letter to the Lt. Governor, A&N Islands with a copy marked to the Chief Secretary, A&N Administration, the President, AATO said that the Covid-19 pandemic is proving to be a long battle. With every passing day, its effect on tourism industry is aggravating, causing unprecedented, unbearable and unimaginable financial burden and loss across all sections of the Andaman tourism industry.

As is being seen across India, several states have officially formulated a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for visiting tourists, the purpose of which is to showcase that the destination is ready to welcome back once again rather than expecting large numbers in reality. Andaman and Nicobar tourism has not prepared any SOP yet nor has sent a positive message to the country regarding its preparation and readiness to welcome tourists once again.

The AATO has thus proposed and requested that a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for incoming tourists be prepared on priority, in consultation with stakeholders of each segment of the industry. Alongside, a video be also shot to show how Andaman tourism industry is ready to welcome tourists back with complete sanitization and safety protocols in place. The SOP after finalization may be published officially to build confidence in travelers who might start visiting Andamans eventually.

Additionally, the association has also requested that the beaches and museums of Andamans be declared open for public and tourists.