As humanity takes a gripping turn towards the ‘new normal’, making adjustments big or small has become our way of living in a world with COVID-19. As the virus shook our world up, it helped ease our friends in the wildlife park from pollution, human interaction and even restored peace that enhanced the environment. We rejoiced to the fact that this was a much-needed break for Mother Nature. As the world slowly started opening its doors by adapting new habits of daily functioning and effectively managing health statuses, ultimately giving travel a whole new meaning.
It is now our crucial responsibility to practice ‘mindfulness’ as tourists. Being conscious of our usage of time, knowledge and materials while venturing out will be important in the preservation of the natural world. If this pandemic has taught us anything, it is to live in harmony and help maintain our biodiversity for a sustainable future.
If this pandemic has taught us anything, it is to live in harmony and help maintain our biodiversity and wildlife park for a sustainable future. Travel stories are now emerging with a new vision and rules that are focussed on nurturing environment and being aware of the cultural significance of different communities even more than before.
The concept of ‘Staycation’, ‘Nature Getaways’ & ‘Wildlife Safaris’ in wildlife park are gaining more consideration in 2020. Our perception of the benefits of nature in these challenging times is making the travel & tourism industry more resilient than ever. As we yearn for the outdoors, all health & safety guidelines are being followed to ensure maximum protection for all travellers. The Ministry of Forests has laid protocols and guidelines to be followed by the facilitators & visitors at the National Parks:
- Thermal screenings are mandatory upon arrival at the entrance. Isolation will be carried out for those with a high temperature at the nearest health facility.
- Face masks and face shields must be worn at all times.
- All the vehicle operating within and around the periphery of the national parks must have sanitizers. Sanitizers must be made available in all vehicles, washrooms, cafes, souvenir shops and placed near all high-touch points like doors or wherever required.
- Children below 10 years of age and senior citizens above 65 years are not be allowed to enter the park premises for maximum safety reasons.
- The seating capacity for a jungle ride in jeeps will operate with 50% of occupancy.
- The safari vehicles will be disinfected vigorously before and after each trip.
In addition to the above guidelines, park authorities and visitors must adhere to strict maintenance of social distancing. Although Wildlife Tourism has faced a substantial setback, the rise of a renewed concept of ecotourism should help birth a new chapter in the tourism business.
Domestic travel has increased during COVID-19 pandemic. The short drives to resorts, national parks, forest patches in and around have kept travel alive as families or friends have delved into the challenging yet exciting new protocols of safe travel. As many call it a ‘much-needed getaway’, being able to visit a national park soon will be wholesome and refreshing to a great extent.
This experience will also help us appreciate the wilderness and show great respect to the travel community for thinking through and making an escapade possible for nature enthusiasts. We now live in an environment where we rely on each other more than ever. More so, we much depend on natural resources for our livelihood. These new trends are also enabling us to be more tech-savvy, and our dependence on technology with less interaction to access any public space can help us achieve acceptable social distancing norms as well.