Published on : Wednesday, May 26, 2021
Travelling is one of the most favored ways for people to relax after a hectic schedule. However, the tourism sector is among one of the first sectors to feel the heat in the wake of the pandemic. In the present situation, it is almost impossible to estimate the extent of the impact of Covid on the economy of Kerala which heavily relies on tourism for its sustenance. New Tourism Minister P A Mohamed Riyas spoke about the challenges and opportunities of tourism industry.
Mr. Riyas said that in Kerala, more than 15 lakh people are engaged directly and 20 lakh indirectly with tourism which had fetched a total turnover of around Rs. 45,000 crore in the 2019-20 fiscal, contributing around 12 per cent of the GDP of the state. In spite of that, the pandemic has pushed tourism in God’s own country to its knees.
Mr. Riyas said that they cannot wait any longer to bring tourism back to its feet. Once the peak of the second wave of Covid is over, the tourist destinations Kerala would be opened for tourists. There’s a plan of action for that and the state is hopeful about opening the tourism sector during the monsoon season itself.
The first priority is the vaccination of frontline tourism workers. There was a discussion with various stakeholders regarding the vaccination of frontline workers in the hospitality sector. This would be announced soon. Once the second outbreak of Covid is under control and frontline workers are vaccinated, the tourism destinations in the state would be opened in a phased manner.
At first, domestic tourists would be allowed to visit the destinations. Once the international borders are opened, giving access to foreign tourists would be considered as well. Hence, the department is going to undertake a campaign for this – first targeting the domestic tourists and later international tourists.