Corona virus hits Kerala tourism – tourism industry hopes to bounce back

Published on : Saturday, March 14, 2020

With the inflow of visitors to tourist spots across Kerala decreasing due to corona virus scare, those associated with the tourism industry in the coastal state are still confident about getting back on track, just as they did after the devastating floods in 2018.


After the floods, Kerala tourism had bounced back to register 17.2 per cent increase in tourist (domestic and foreign) arrivals, with the figure touching 1.96 crore last year.


Jose Pradeep, secretary of Kerala Travel Mart (KTM) said, “In February and March, we get a good number of tourists from the Far East and South Africa. As Kerala reported its first corona virus case in January, things began to turn bad. Today, when our tourist destinations should register about 80 per cent hotel occupancy, the current figure is zero. With India now suspending visas till the middle of next month, nothing more needs to be said.”


KTM is the single biggest tourism event assembling entrepreneurs from Kerala on to a single platform who offer tourism products and services, including tour operators, hotels, resorts, home stays, houseboats, Ayurveda resorts and cultural art centers, facilitating meetings and interactions with buyers from around the world.


This event, held every two years in agreement with the Department of Tourism, was slated for September 24 to 27.


However, Pradeep said that he hopes that things will be fine in two to three weeks.


Sudheesh Kumar, who owns a plush resort closest to the famed Kovalam beach, said that the current situation vis-a-vis corona virus outbreak is “scary” as their occupancy is down to mere 10 per cent, when it should be above 60 per cent.


“Kerala tourism industry, however, need not feel that bad. Tourists are now well aware of how Kerala handled Nipah in the past. You just wait and see — tourists will return in good numbers, once things cool down as they have faith in Kerala and the way it has handled health emergencies,” said Kumar.


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