Kochi’s tourism sector faces unexpected shock with Covid-19 second wave

Published on : Friday, April 16, 2021

Kochi’s tourism sector witnessed an unexpected shock with emergence of the Covid-19 second wave. Since the industry suffered enormous losses during last year’s lockdown, boat owners and other stakeholders were hoping to cash in on the uptick in tourist arrivals during this vacation season. Many boat owners’ expectations were shattered by the second wave of the pandemic.

In fact, the entire tourism sector has started to feel the heat of the pandemic once more. “It’s frustrating to realize that the efforts and money we put in to revive our business might have been in vain. Life has been at a standstill since last year’s lockdown. Those depending on us have also suffered. If not Covid, poverty would take many lives if things go on like this,” said Varghese K, a tourist boat owner.

Many of them are even considering leaving the tourism sector forever.

Due to the spike in Covid cases, many domestic tourists are canceling their trips to Kerala. “We had been expecting a brisk vacation season this April-May. However, the unexpected spurt in Covid cases has upset our plans. As international tourists are staying away due to travel restrictions, many of us had pinned our hopes on domestic tourists, especially those from Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Now, with the mandatory quarantine directive, the footfall will come down to an unprecedented low,” said T K Faisal, a tourism facilitator.

The homestays of Kochi are also finding it difficult to stay alive. “In the absence of international tourists we were looking forward for an inflow of domestic tourists. We never imagined a second wave of the pandemic would spell doom for our businesses,” said M P Sivadathan, the director of Kerala Homestay and Tourism Society (K-HATS).
There are 350 registered homestays and more than 2,000 unregistered homestays across Kerala.

District Tourism Promotion Council officials mentioned that ensuring public safety will top their charts after Covid-19 second wave. In order to curb Covid-19, the tourism department is now allowing only 200 persons at a time in tourist destinations across Kerala.

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