The Forest Department is soon set to reopen the Sundarbans, the world’s largest mangrove forest and a Unesco World Heritage Site, to tourists after seven months of closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Tourists are expected to be allowed to enter the Sundarbans from early November, authorities said.
Meanwhile, tour operators have already completed preparations after receiving the green signal and many have started pre-booking tourism spots.
According to sources in the Sundarbans Forest Department, a meeting of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Forests and Environment was held on October 19 over the reopening.
The meeting decided to reopen the Sundarbans ahead of the upcoming tourist season. Instructions to reopen the entrances are likely to come in the next couple of days, the sources said.
On March 19, the Forest Department announced a temporary restriction on tourist movement and boat plying in the Sundarbans to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
According to the Forest Department, over 45,000 tourists visit nine areas in the Sundarbans every day during the tourist season (November to March).
Md Moinul Islam Jamaddar, president of the Tour Operators’ Association of the Sundarbans, said bookings for tours have already started ahead of the tourist season.
However, health rules must be maintained, he said, adding that the number of tourists allowed on each ship will be decreased.