Kerala tourism body sues Union Govt for inaction

Published on : Friday, December 4, 2020

The Kerala Travel Mart Society (KTMS) has filed a lawsuit against the central government for inaction in reviving the tourism industry. The petitioners, in their plea to the Kerala High Court, raised the issue of inaction on the part of the Centre in reviving the tourism industry.

The tourism body said the inaction is arbitrary, unreasonable, irrational, unjustified, against public interest and therefore, violative of the fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 14, 19(1)(g) and 21 of the Constitution of India. The petitioners observed that the Centre and its various agencies are duty bound to ensure that the predominant contributor to its GDP, revenue and various earnings is not left in the lurch at the time of the crisis. The petition pointed out that while the government has extended various incentives, stimulus and assistance to other sectors, nothing has been done to save the tourism sector in the country, which it termed, as plainly arbitrary, discriminatory and unjust.

The petitioners said the banks are discriminating against the borrowers from the tourism sector and also harassing them despite the Centre’s announcement of loan moratoriums and restructuring of the existing loans.

The petition said that most of the banks are not following the government’s directives. Furthermore, it pointed out that all other sectors of the economy have been unlocked, but the continuing travel restrictions on domestic and international travel, visas, and international flights continue to pose challenges for the tourism sector.

In the absence of intervention from the government along with incentives, relaxation in norms, availability of finances, the tourism industry will face an imminent collapse. These measures have to be implemented in a well-planned and though out manner to revitalize and promote tourism as done in other countries, and in particular, to gain the confidence of the tourists, the petition said.

Last month, Abraham George, a member of the National Tourism Advisory Council, had said that the hospitality sector has started receiving enquiries from North India. “Though we are trying our level best to convince them about the safety and precautionary steps taken by the state government, the prohibition orders enforced in various districts dissuade them from undertaking or booking a group or family trip to Kerala,” he said. A senior tourism department official pointed out that the sector will have a revival only with the arrival of tourists from other states for which they have to wait for some time. He explained prohibitory orders enforced in districts is a policy decision and given the current situation, it will be in force for a few more weeks.

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