Andaman Islands Reopens For Tourists – How To Plan in 2020 During COVID

Azhar
November 18, 2020

Updated – 13 November 2020

Finally, the news that we have been waiting to hear for a long time is here. When will the Andaman Islands open to tourists? What are the places that can be visited? What is the Standard Operating procedures (SOP) in place for tourists coming to the Andaman Islands? Here we are bringing you a very detailed article about how to plan your trip to Andaman Islands during COVID in 2020. All pointers explained and we will keep this article updated for all travellers who are planning a visit.

Recent Update


As of 18th November 2020

Good news on water activity is here. The administration has defined new SOP for all water activities. As per the guidelines

Scuba Diving
Sea Walking
Sea Kart activity
Parasailing activity
JetSki activity

Will now be operational as per the latest SOP defined under the supervision of Tourist Safety and Supervisory Team and Dive Safety and Supervisory team. The SOPs defined should be strictly followed by both operators and tourists.


As of 13th November 2020

Guidelines for Scuba Diving and Sea Walking is still awaited. Cruises are canceled until November 30, 2020.

The government ferry is sailing to different islands such as Port Blair, Havelock and Neil Island.

Kayaking is now operational in the Andaman Islands.

We are happy to announce that our first guest has arrived to Andaman Islands and we were successfully able to take them to Havelock Island on a tour. Here is a picture of our customer at Radhanagar beach.

Will keep you all posted as further updates about tourism are with us.


As of 4th November 2020,


Guidelines for COVID-19 test for guest arriving in Andaman Islands


1. The Tourist arriving at Port Blair will be tested for COVID-19 at Veer Savarkar Airport using Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) the results will be given at the airport itself. The Tourist will be charged as per rate fixed by Administration ( Presently INR 500/- per person ) .
If the Tourist test negative , he/she can proceed for the trip , if found positive , he/she will be have to undergo institutional isolation till the recovery from COVID-19.

2. Alternatively, the tourist can opt to carry COVID-19 negative report from mainland India based ICMR approved lab using “Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction” (RTPCR) or True Nat Test (TNT) , However the sample for RTPCR/TNT should have been taken without 48hours of starting the journey from origin station,(For e.g. if the tourist take a flight from Delhi/ Mumbai at 0600hrs on 1st November 2020, the sample for RTPCR / TNT test should have been taken not before 0600hrs on 30th October 2020.
The result of this RTPCR/ TNT will be confirmed online using the SRF-ID, following with the tourist will be exempted from RAT testing at Port Blair Airport and can proceed for the trip.

3.If the Tourist on arrival at Port Blair Airport tests positive , he/she will need to undergo institutional isolation as per existing health protocols, the cost for such isolation for govt facility will be paid by the tourist as fixed by the administration.


As of 29 October 2020,

Scuba Diving and Cruises are not operational in the islands. From 1st November 2020, the Government ferry is expected to sail. Also, guidelines for all water sports activities is been setup. We are hopeful that by November 15, 2020, all SOP should be set up and Andaman should be back to the new normal. We recommend people to plan after November 15, 2020.


You can reach Experience Andamans for any trip-related query. Drop us a query or email your requirements at info@experienceandamans.com

As of 26 September 2020,

MHA and A&N Administration has designed the key to unlock Andamans for all you travel lovers and nature lovers to come and explore the better than ever version of the serene blues and greens of Andaman.

As of 26 September 2020, the SOP has been circulated to all stake holders.

The lockdown has given the nature a quality time to revive and flourish to its full potential. The lush green forests, the unique mangroves, the beach sands and the crystal clear seas are at its best now due to no human touch for more than 6 months now. The scenic beauty of the Emerald and blue Andamans, have nourished itself and is welcoming you to come and have a fresh start to the new normal. While we say this, we don’t miss the fact that the virus has not gone and we don’t have a fixed cure to it (the vaccine) yet, so it is absolutely mandatory to follow the safety guidelines to keep ourselves and others safe.

When you visit Andaman for your vacation, we at Experience Andamans, strive to keep you safe and at the utmost hygiene and away from touch contact as much as possible. Meanwhile, you will also have your part of responsibilities to keep yourself and the Isles away from the hit of the new Novel Coronavirus. 

So here we start with the complete introduction with the new normal for visiting Andamans. Stay with us through the lines while we guide you further. 

Flights Operating To Port Blair

Note that currently, not many flights to Port Blair are on regular basis. Therefore check the airlines official website while planning your travel dates.

The below flights are operating from various cities (connecting/ direct) to Port Blair. Currently, it’s a developing period for the unlocking mission, expect various edits to the instructions and directives. 

Chennai    : Air India, Indigo and Go Air

Bangalore : Indigo and Go Air

Mumbai     : Indigo and Go Air

Hyderabad: Air India and Indigo (connecting via Chennai) 

Kolkata      : Air India, Indigo, Go Air

Do’s & Dont’s for Air traveling to the Andaman Islands (Veer Savarkar International Airport)

Do’s :

  1. * Have Aarogya Setu app installed and updated on your mobile phone. 
  2. * Follow the SMS rule- Sanitization, Mask and Social Distancing. 
  3. * Keep yourself covered as much as possible. 
  4. * Reach the airport minimum 2-3 hours prior to your departure time. 
  5. * Make sure your temperature has been normal and you have not shown any cold-like symptoms

Dont’s :

  • * Don’t touch any surface, railings, etc unnecessarily
  • * Don’t dispose used masks, gloves or tissue papers in open. Dispose them in proper places alloted. 
  • * Don’t consume any eatables inside the aircraft. 
  • * Water bottle will be provided in the flights and no on board sale of products will be done.

Refer Ministry of Home Affairs website for more details on flight-related SOP. Here are a couple of references

Guidelines
https://www.mha.gov.in/sites/default/files/MHANewguidelines_30092020.pdf

Free Rescheduling On All Trips & Hotels – Pay on Arrival Options

At Experience Andamans, we understand the need of the hour. All our suggested hotels and tours will by default come with free rescheduling options and you can pay just a partial amount to block your dates and full payment can be made after arrival in the Andaman Islands. This is one key feature that will be helpful for all travelers coming to the Andaman Islands. Contact Us for more details on your tour itinerary.

What should we expect while traveling to Andamans (during the Unlock process)

All of us have been through the tough time that 2020 has taken us through. Towards the end of this year, why not make some memories which can reduce (if not eradicate) the stress and monotony of the quarantine and lockdown period. 

To make this happen for you, we bring up here, the clear picture of what you can actually expect if Andaman happens to be on your bucket list of post-lockdown plans. 

As per the directives issued by the Directorate of Tourism, A&N Administration on 26th day of September 2020, we have the following services and attractions ready for your experiences.

The rejuvenated beaches of south Andaman are open now to welcome you

Below are the list of attractions opened

Places in Port Blair that are currently open

  • – Corbyns Cove Beach
  • – Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Island (Ross Island)
  • – North Bay Island
  • – Wandoor
  • – Chidiatapu

Places in Havelock Island that are currently open

  • – Radhanagar Beach
  • – Kalapathar Beach
  • – Elephant Beach
  • – Vijay Nagar Beach

Places in Neil Island that are currently open

  • – Bharatpur Beach
  • – Sitapur Beach
  • – Laxmanpur Beach

Do’s and Don’t when visiting beaches as per the SOP

  1. – The opening of beaches is permitted only in South Andaman District (except Little Andaman).
  2. – The beaches will remain open between 10.00 AM to 05.00 PM daily.
  3. – Visitors should maintain a minimum distance of 02 meters between one another.
  4. – Use of face cover/mask will be mandatory for all.
  5. – Spiting shall be strictly prohibited on the beaches.
  6. – Mandatory sanitizing and thermal screening will be done at the entrance of the beaches and only asymptomatic visitors will be let into the beaches.
  7. – The visitors should self-monitor themselves and report about any illness immediately to the Beach Officers/Life Guards and TSET Members.
  8. – Dispose of face cover/masks/gloves and other leftovers should be done only in the dustbins allotted and marked for the same.
  9. – The directions of beach-staff/ Lifeguards regarding crowd management at beaches should be obeyed by the visitors for a safe trip.
  10. – Group photography will not be allowed on the beaches.
  11. – Tourists/visitors should avoid overcrowding in the washroom area.
  12. – Tourists/visitors above 65 years will not be allowed on the beaches.
  13. – Respiratory etiquettes are to be strictly followed. This involves covering mouth and nose while coughing/sneezing with a tissue/ handkerchief/ flexed elbow and disposing of used tissues properly after use.

Snorkeling to Be Operational In Andaman Islands

Do’s & Don’ts Before entering the water:

  1. – Maintain social distancing and follow the instruction given by the operator for snorkeling activity.
  2. – The Guests should have a complete personal snorkeling kit with full face mask and only they will be allowed to undergo the activity.
  3. – Snorkeling equipment should not be hired, borrowed, lent or shared even among members of the same family to maintain high hygiene.
  4. – All guests must compulsorily wear face masks and hand gloves until entering the water and upon leaving the water-body.
  5. – At no point, any guest should touch the guide’s snorkel equipment neither the guide should come in contact with the guest’s equipment. All demonstrations will be made through the guide’s own equipment.

Guidelines to be followed while in water

  1. – Demonstration of snorkeling skills will be done by the guide in thigh-level water while maintaining social distancing norms.
  2. – All guests must wear a life jacket before entering the water. Sanitization should be followed before and after using the life jacket.
  3. – Lifebuoy with rope will be used to tow the guests while snorkeling.

After leaving the water

  1. – The safety gears such as Life Jacket and Life-buoy used by the guests will be rinsed, dried, and disinfected before the next use.
  2. – The snorkeling equipment used for the activity must be kept at possession at all times to avoid accidental usage by others.  Rinse well, dry and disinfect your gears for hygiene reasons and to stay away from any infections.

Boat Rides will start to the open islands

Below are the Do’s and Don’ts for involving in the Boat ride activities based on the Standard Operating Procedure released by the Administration

  1. – Maintain the social distancing norms uncompromisingly.
  2. – Avoid sharing of items like eatables, water bottles, toys and safety gear etc. Always wear hand-gloves and face mask.
  3. – Wash the hands frequently with soap for 20 – 30 seconds even if it is visibly not dirty.
  4. – Hand sanitizers should be used before and after use of safety gears/ boats.
  5. – Do self-monitoring of health and report any illness at the earliest.
  6. – All guests must mandatorily have Aarogya Setu mobile application installed and used frequently.
  7. – Maintain respiratory hygiene standards.

List of Museums to open in Port Blair

  • – Anthropological Museum
  • – Fisheries Museum
  • – Naval Samudrika Museum
  • – Chatham Saw Mill

Do’s- Don’ts and the new Standard Operating Procedure for the Museums :

  1. – Only those museums which fall in the non-containment zone will be opened for tourists/ visitors.
  2. – Hand sanitizers and thermal screening facilities are made available at the entry point for the visitors.
  3. – E-tickets may be issued for the entrance at the museums to eradicate/ minimize the touch-contact
  4. – The visitors shall follow social distancing norms. The use of face cover/mask will be mandatory.
  5. – There will be separate entry and exit point within the museum, as far as feasible based on the campus.
  6. – Tourists/visitor shall stick to time limit inside the museums as allotted to them to avoid crowding of the place.
  7. – No food and eatables will be allowed inside the museums.
  8. – Tourists/visitors shall not touch walls, railings or any other items inside the museums.
  9. – Spiting and smoking are strictly prohibited inside the museums (Actually this should be avoided everywhere)
  10. – Respiratory etiquettes to be strictly followed. This involves strict practice of covering one’s mouth and nose while coughing/sneezing with a tissue/ handkerchief/ flexed elbow and disposing off used tissues properly after use.

Cellular Jail and the Show will be Operational

There will be a specific number of tourists/visitors allowed in the National Memorial Cellular Jail as per the below slots (the data is based on the SOP released by the administration for the unlock phase which might be developed and updated from time to time)

PurposeTime slotsVisitors allowed
The Jail Campus & Museum Visit6 time slots
09:00 -10:00 am 10:00 -11:00 am 11:00 -12:00 noon 01:00 – 02:00 pm 02:00 – 03:00 pm 03:00 – 04:00 pm
Maximum of 50 visitors will be allowed in each slot

{Not more than 300 visitors per day)
Timing of Cellular Jail during COVID
  • * Entry tickets for the Jail visit as well as the Light n Sound Show shall be issued by e-mode / online only through the E-tourist website of Andaman Administration. No physical tickets will be issued. Only digital payments will be permitted.
  • * The visitors should strictly follow the designated routes for entry-exit and movement inside the monument. The time limit allotted should also be followed.
  • * Wearing mask is mandatory for all visitors. Thermal screening and hand sanitizing procedure will be followed at the entrance.
  • * The department has the authority to restrict access to any part of the monument. The visitors are requested to follow the directions given while entering or being in the monument premises.
  • * The security staffs to ensure that there is no crowding at any point of time inside the monument.
  • * Group photography will not be allowed within the premises.
  • * Vehicles will not be allowed to be parked in front of the memorial. Parking will be allowed only in designated areas.
  • * Registered Guides will only be allowed to work inside the museum. Each guide will cater to maximum of four guests who will maintain social distancing during the guided tour.
  • * No food and eatables will be allowed inside the monument/premises.
  • * Spitting and smoking are strictly prohibited inside the monument.
  • * Visitors should avoid overcrowding at the drinking water site and at the washroom area.
  • * Respiratory etiquettes to be strictly followed. This involves strict practice of covering one’s mouth and nose while coughing/sneezing with a tissue/ handkerchief/ flexed elbow and disposing off used tissues properly after use.

Light & Sound Show at Cellular Jail Will be Operational

The guidelines to be followed for visitors of Light n Sound show remains similar as mentioned above for Cellular Jail visit. The time-slot allotment is as below:

PurposeTime slotsVisitors allowed
Light n Sound Show at Cellular Jail2 time slots
06:00 – 07:00 pm 08:00 – 09:00 pm
Maximum of 100 visitors will be allowed in each slot
{Not more than 200 visitors per day}
Timings and Slot of Cellular Jail Light and Sound Show

Light and Sound Show at Ross Island will be operational

Guidelines below before you plan to visit Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Island (Ross Island) for Light n Sound show 

  • * There will be only one show slot daily between 06:00 PM to 07:00 PM. (Hindi shows on all days except Wednesday. On Wednesday there will be English show).
  • * In order to follow social distancing, visitors will be allowed only up to 50% of the seating capacity. Seating arrangements to be made accordingly.
  • * Use of face mask will be mandatory for all the people visiting the show.
  • * Visitors will have to undergo mandatory hand hygiene and thermal screening at the entry point. Only asymptomatic people will be allowed to board the boat.
  • * Tourists/visitors to strictly adhere to the time limits.
  • * Group photography will not be allowed during the show.
  • * Spiting and smoking are strictly prohibited at the location.
  • * Tourists / Visitors should avoid overcrowding in the washroom area.
  • * Respiratory etiquettes to be strictly followed. This involves covering mouth and nose while coughing/sneezing with a tissue/ handkerchief/ flexed elbow and disposing of used tissues properly after use.

Cruise & Hotels to Open under specific guidelines

Cruises and hotels to follow specific SOP in Andaman. We are yet to receive a clear guideline on hotels and cruises. As soon as we receive an update we will share it with our readers.

Cabs and Coaches to be sanitized on a regular interval by Experience Andamans

  • * One of the foremost advantages of booking your post-lockdown getaway with Experience Andamans is that all our vehicles are under Experience Andamans branding and you can rest assured of the quality and zero compromises on hygiene and safety. 
  • * By the time you land in the Isles, our dedicated drivers (wearing face mask and gloves) will be ready at the airport for onboarding you to a well-sanitized and deep cleaned cars/coaches with transparent partitioning between the drivers and passengers. 
  • * The best part is that we assign private vehicles for each family/ group. The vehicles are not shared and hence no one apart from your family/ group will accompany you in the car/coach.
  • * Your luggage handles will be sanitized if it is being handled by the driver during transfers.
  • * Body temperature of our drivers will be checked and recorded before each trip assignment. 
  • * The cars/ coaches will be well equipped with a non-contact thermometer to check the temperature in regular intervals, disinfectants, and sanitizers. 

Do’s & Dont’s while traveling to OR being in the Islands:

DO’s

  • * Make sure that you have a secure and advance booking of your day-wise itinerary, your stays and transfers (flights, vehicles and cruises) 
  • * Wear a face mask, keep sanitizing your hands in regular intervals and keep a distance of 6-feet from individuals. 
  • * Maintain social distancing In the queues for activities or during the process of checking in. 
  • * Call your immediate POC (number will be provided before starting of the trip) in case you need any help or develop any type of symptoms on-tour. 
  • * Give correct travel & health history and reachable contact details to map you if required in case of any path cross which will help contain the spread of the novel Coronavirus. 
  • * If you see yourself or any co-traveler develop corona like symptoms, then inform the concerned authorities and isolate yourself until the emergency help reaches you. 
  • * Do cashless transaction as much s possible to avoid share-touch 
  • * Booking with us is completely paperless yet properly recorded and documented in soft copy which promotes digitalization and contains the spread of the novel coronavirus. 

DONT’s

  • * Do not venture out of your hotel room without a proper face mask. 
  • * Do not touch your face, ears or nose without sanitizing your hands. 
  • * Do not touch open or public surfaces because it might be infectious. 
  • * Do not leave your luggage unattended. 
  • * Do not go for an undefined or a not pre-booked trip because all destinations and activities are having limited slots and limited accessibility. 
  • * Do not panic in case of emergency as we’ll have your back and we will make sure proper help is available in case you need the same. 
  • * Do not spread rumors or share wrong/ incomplete information this might lead to a threat even to a safe destination. 

Being into the business and having spoken to our customers from various walks of life, we can understand that it is difficult to decide of going out and visiting a destination knowing that the virus has not gone. All that we can suggest you in this situation is that we have started living the new normal life with all precautions and self-awareness. Travel will also become part of this new normal. We want you to jump into your travel shoes and start exploring everything that you have been longing for all throughout the lockdown days just maintain the SMS rule (Sanitize-Mask-SocialDistancing) 

Questions that still needs to be answered?

We are yet to receive clarity on underwater activities, we will post an update as soon as we receive notification from the authorities. Islands in the North Andaman are yet to open. In addition, we are expecting more clarity on tourists who arrive in the islands. If a tourist who arrives at Andaman and is found COVID positive, what is the SOP for a tourist is yet to be received.

We will keep our readers posted about further progress about the Andaman Islands.

So this was it dear travelers. Since we have just stepped into the first stage of Unlocking Andaman for tourism, this is all that we wanted you to know. We will for sure stay connected and keep all of you posted with the updates on the directives or regulations released by the competent authorities. 

The opening of other sights/ districts, or the other activities will be updated as and when the same is decided and released by the Administration. 

The team of Experience Andamans is having enough experts to handle your trips during this pandemic with no compromise on professionalism and dedication. We want you to explore the Andamans and rejuvenate but at the same time, we value your safety and concerns. 

We love traveling and we can say that traveling is the best way out from the boredom or stress caused by different factors in life. Are you also looking for a change from the monotonous lockdown and stay at home phase? Do contact us showing your willingness to visit the Andamans Island, refer all our tour packages, and our team will connect with you with the best deals and offers available to make your wish come true. 

Until then, Stay safe and keep “Travel” on your mind. 

Written by Azhar

Azhar

Hey, thanks for reading my post. Do let me know what you think about my insights about the Andaman Islands. Also, if you have any inputs for me then do write to me at azhar@experienceandamans.com. I will be happy to assist you. Wish to see you in the islands soon 🙂

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