Upbeat mood over opening tourism sector

Proposed opening from October 15

An upbeat mood prevails in the travel trade over the proposed opening of the tourism sector in the State from October 15 after six months of dampened activity following the pandemic-induced lockdown.

Though Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran has announced that initially the hill stations and places where visitors can be restricted will be opened up, the stakeholders of the badly hit tourism industry are exuberant to receive the domestic tourists.

The arrival of the visitors to the hill resort of Ponmudi in the capital district and to tourist resorts in Wayanad during the weekends, the interest shown by leading travel online portals like MakeMytrip, Goibibo and Booking.com on Kerala despite the uncertainties, have been projected as a positive sign for the revival of the tourism sector in the days ahead.

However, decision to postpone the opening of the bars in the State, notification of Munnar as a containment zone in the wake of spurt in COVID-19 cases and insistence on testing at the border check post of Muthanga for those coming from Karnataka and on seven days quarantine with hardly a week to go for opening the sector are concerns for the stakeholders.

“The demand is for drivable short tours now. Our properties are fully geared up to cater to the visitors who step in. The rooms in the resort in Ponmudi are sold out during the weekends. Increase in the number of trains and flights will give confidence for the citizens to travel,” an official of Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC) said.

Hotels that remain closed and local travel agents are gearing up for receiving guests. “Enquiries have started coming from northern States. Small groups have started booking for arrivals in November and December. We are reserving them with the tag that everything will be subject to government guidelines,” says Abraham George, CMD of the Kochi-based Intersight Tours & Travel.

The demand for the rooms in the properties that opened up in Wayanad from those in northern districts has surprised the industry. “Wayand during the weekend is sold out, as holidayers from Bengaluru have also started arriving. Bachelors and families are arriving in good numbers,” says Prasad Manjali, MD and CEO, Citrine Hotels and Resorts.

Meanwhile, the opening of the sector has not cheered up the stakeholders on the beach resort of Kovalam as beaches do not figure in the initial opening phase.

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