MSMEs and homestays in Kochi continue to wait due to ongoing restrictions

 Saturday, October 10, 2020 


With the onset of October, Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the tourism sector of Kochi, mainly homestays, hoped for a new beginning with the tourism industry to open after a gap of six months. However, with increasing number of Covid-19 cases in the district and ensuing restrictions under Section 144 of CrPC imposed, the expectations came to a halt.

Around 90 percent of MSMEs in the tourism sector were closed since March this year and a restoration in the current fiscal year seems kind of impossible now. Although the Tourism Department had announced that it would promote domestic tourism, tourism destinations in Kochi and nearby places are shut due to the continuing restrictions.

Neelkanth Pararath, founder, WebCRS Travel Technologies Pvt. Ltd. and a technology expert in the travel industry, said that revenue from the tourism industry in Kochi has plummeted by 90 percent at least. “The industry had some positive hopes of starting domestic tourism by the middle of October, but the current Kerala scenario of Section 144 declared has pushed it further into November,” he said.

Hospitality and transport providers will have to be very careful and meticulous on hygiene and safety standards. If overlooked, it can badly affect everyone and the tourism industry itself. Traditional travel companies need to focus on building stronger relationships with guests, motivating them with the right products and provide the right suggestion regarding safe travel.

Mr. Paranath said that hotels and resorts which are open as quarantine facilities are fairly well heeled but aren’t highly profitable. The curio shops and activity centres haven’t seen any kind of sustainable revenue in the last six months. However, online searches for destinations including Cherai, Alappuzha, Munnar and Thekkady are increasing by 70 per cent each month.

“Online companies are definitely getting the benefit of the fact that traditional companies aren’t open to cater to disseminate this information and support the traveller. If traditional travel companies can restart their teams and invest to prepare for the market recovery, this will be a huge opportunity to reboot the sector,” Mr. Paranath said.

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