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Open tourism for business, CII-Kerala urges CM Vijayan

Our Bureau Thiruvananthapuram/Kochi | Updated on September 08, 2020

Thomas John Muthoot, Chairman, CII-Kerala

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Kerala, has written to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan for resumption of tourism activity in the State. It recalled that the tourism industry had managed to bounce back last year after the historic floods in 2018, recording the highest growth rate in tourist arrivals in the last 24 years.

Thomas John Muthoot, Chairman, CII-Kerala, said that promotional activities and policy changes by the Tourism Department had helped a lot to achieve this growth. But now, an industry that contributes to 10 per cent of the GSDP and provides maximum employment continues to be severely impacted due to the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown. Revenues of hotels have dropped to zero and the latter are unable to pay salaries and wages.

Help on two fronts

The CII requested that the State government lend support to the tourism, travel and hospitality industry on both the fiscal and macro-economic fronts. In order to tide over the crisis, it should open all tourism activities while insisting on adhering to the Covid-19 protocol. The CII also suggested that the government consider changing the quarantine policy for visitors.

The government may permit tourists with Covid negative test certificates without having to undergo quarantine. A training programme may be initiated for tourism professionals on handling tourists during the pandemic. The CII pointed out that it is during September that tour operators from different States start marketing for Diwali.

Also, foreign tour operators start plan itineraries for January 2021 and hence it is important for Kerala to announce that the State is open for tourism. Other major tourist destinations such as Goa and Rajasthan have already done this. Thomas John Muthoot conveyed the industry’s concerns during a meeting with Kadakampally Surendran, Minister for Tourism.

Unlock 4.0 opportunity

The said that Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Goa and Maharashtra with many time more Covid-19 patients than Kerala had opened for the season after the Centre announced the Unlock 4.0 guidelines. The tourism, ayurveda and wellness sectors in Kerala are ready to adhere to the necessary protocols.

Opening up tourism would favourably impact the lives of 15 lakh persons who find direct employment under the sector and another 30 lakh who are indirectly employed. A meeting of the CII Tourism Panel members with the Tourism Minister is scheduled on Wednesday to discuss an action plan to open up the tourism sector activities ahead of the season.

15,000 small units hit

Jose Dominic, Director and Co-Founder, CGH Earth, a leading entrepreneur in the sector, said that the State could not afford to delay the opening of the tourism sector since at least 15,000 small enterprises are estimated to have taken a massive hit due to Covid-19 affecting the lives and livelihood of lakhs of people.

Published on September 07, 2020

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