Coronavirus: Mass cancellation of hotel bookings in Kerala, says Tourism Minister
Thiruvananthapuram: The deadly novel coronavirus (nCoV) has an unusual ‘casualty’ in Kerala – the state’s booming tourism industry. The virus has almost wiped out the tourism sector in Kerala with tourists cancelling confirmed tours for February and March.
State’s tourism minister Kadakampally Surendran admitted in the Assembly that the cancellations now are much more, compared to that after Nipah virus was reported.
“Several bookings in hotels for the months of February and March have been cancelled. The bookings were almost full for these months earlier. The cancellations now are much more, compared to that after the Nipah virus was reported,” the Minister said.
He pointed out that despite the flood of 2018 and 2019, foreign and domestic tourists had flocked the state. In 2019, there was a 4.84% increase in the number of foreign tourists. All this has been wiped out by the nCov.
While the minister blamed the negative publicity in the media, the tourism sector is upset with the State Government for having declared the outbreak as a ‘calamity.’ This has sent alarm bells ringing among prospective tourists to the state.
Soon after the outbreak and the announcement by the government, there was a flood of cancellations.
Kerala Travel Mart (KTM) said in the last two days over 50 per cent of the cancellations were made and the situation is likely to become worse in the coming days.
Tour operators have stopped booking of international tour packages to nCoV-hit countries and also accepting tour packages from these countries. Domestic tourists too are on a cancellation spree with Kerala reporting three confirmed cases of nCov.