Kerala: Popular tourist destinations in Kerala may soon be declared as complete ‘vaccinated zones’ as the state government is mulling to provide the COVID-19 shots to everyone in the tourism sector, said Tourism minister P A Mohammed Riyas on Tuesday.
The government has already started providing vaccines to those working in the tourism sector including resorts, hotels, and restaurants, after including them in the prioritized list considering them as front-line COVID fighters.
‘We are mulling to make famous tourist destinations in the state 100 percent vaccinated zones by July 15 with the support of the health department,’ said Minister in response to questioning in the State Assembly.
The minister also said the state tourism sector had incurred losses to the tune of Rs 33,675 crore due to the pandemic. Tourism Minister noted, ‘There was a steep fall in foreign and domestic tourist arrivals to the state. In the present Coronavirus scenario, Kerala will be focusing on domestic tourists rather than foreign tourists. In 2019, 1.83 crore domestic tourists arrived in Kerala and by 2025 we have set a target of 3.65 crore domestic tourist arrivals.’
He stated that the Kerala government is working on a financial package to boost the tourist industry in an effort to increase domestic tourism. In order to resolve the issues in the tourism sector due to the pandemic, state Finance Minister K N Balagopal had announced a rejuvenation package for the sector and allocated Rs 30 crore as government share for its revival. ‘To address the issues of the tourism industry, a meeting with 18 tourism associations was conducted. We are charting out plans to support Homestays, houseboats, tour operators, and guides in the tourism sector,’ the Minister said.
‘Kerala Financial Corporation is also providing subsidized loans for tourism investors to overcome the financial crisis due to COVID-19,’ added Mohammed Riyas.