Agra, June 15: With some respite on the COVID-19 pandemic front, after steep decline in numbers, the district authorities are all set to welcome domestic tourists to the historical monuments in Agra.

In the wake of alarming rise in the number of COVID-19 patients, the Taj and other monuments were shut down for visitors, two months ago.  Delhi COVID-19 Unlock: Restaurants, Offices to Open at 50% Capacity; Schools, Colleges, Gyms to Remain Closed

The Archaeological Survey of India has in a circular announced reopening of monuments from June 16.

The tourism industry captains in Agra have welcomed the decision and have asked for resumption of international flights. Hoteliers have also demanded sops and a special package to help the industry steer out of the crisis. "At least some relief can be considered in taxes and electricity bills," said senior hotelier Surendra Sharma.

Hotels in Agra have been either shut or partially opened since March 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic has virtually crippled the hospitality and travel industry, which have been demanding special schemes and sops to ease the pangs from continued shut down.

Though the reopening of the monuments would help to some extent, but until international flights were resumed, there could be no positive turn around, feel the hoteliers.

The 17th century monument of love, the Taj Mahal attracted more than seven million tourists annually, before the pandemic.

District officials indicated that visitors to the monuments would need to take appropriate precautions before they are allowed entry. Care would be taken to ensure there was no crowding. Initially tickets would be issued online.

For the past one week, there has been a welcome decline in the daily numbers of Covid-19 patients. In the past 24 hours only six cases were reported.

Health department officials said the city's medical infrastructure had been streamlined, and necessary follow up measures were being taken in the rural areas.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jun 15, 2021 04:49 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website