The Confederation of Kerala Tourism Industry (CKTI), led by EM Najeeb as President, has called on the government to take immediate steps to reopen the tourism sector in Kerala, and submitted a memorandum.
EM Najeeb, President, CKTI, has said that when the tourism industry is on the verge of collapsing as one of the state’s highest income earning industrial sectors, excluding NRI investment, the country is literally on the verge of collapse. “Based on Unlock-4 declared by the Central government recently, our neighbouring states – Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Goa and Maharashtra – have opened the tourism sector with or without COVID-19 protocols. But, the existing 14-day compulsory quarantine in Kerala, a requirement for travellers arriving in the state, is a major setback,” he says.
On the other hand, Kerala tourism minister Kadakampally Surendran has informed the Tourism Panel of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) that the state government is considering to reopen the state for tourism by the first week of October. CKTI has already submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister and Tourism Minister of Kerala, to open the tourism sector without further delay. According to the proposal, hospitality, Ayurveda and wellness sectors in Kerala are ready to adhere to state government protocols and directions, including regular COVID-19 testing and confirming a negative result before clients utilise the facilities, and to start business slowly.
“We propose to require travellers and clients to arrive with a recent RT-PCR test (48 hours) or follow dual testing Rapid Antigen and RT-PCR test so as to obviate the need for 14-day quarantine. Without government directives in favour as above, we cannot start taking clients or guests. It should be a policy decision by the government by involving health and tourism departments in issuing directives to open the tourism sector by adhering to SOPs,” Najeeb explains.
The state government has already given permission to open hotels in the state, subject to the COVID-19 Prevention Control Rules, but it will only benefit visitors who come for seven-day business purposes. Due to this, very few hotels in major cities are open in Kerala now. If this situation continues, the tourism industry, which earned about Rs 45,000 crore for the state exchequer last year, will have to close permanently.