Call to exempt tourism from hartals

Kerala Travel Mart (KTM) Society has called for an all-party meeting to discuss protecting the tourism sector, a key revenue and employment generator for state, from the impact of frequent hartals that inconvenience tourists and undermine tourism promotion efforts.

Published: 07th May 2018 10:44 PM  |   Last Updated: 08th May 2018 04:48 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

KOCHI:Kerala Travel Mart (KTM) Society has called for an all-party meeting to discuss protecting the tourism sector, a key revenue and employment generator for state, from the impact of frequent hartals that inconvenience tourists and undermine tourism promotion efforts.

“There were views from different quarters that hartals adversely affect the tourism sector and that public opinion should be mobilized to overcome this situation. It is a welcome sign,” said KTM president Baby Mathew.

He requested political parties and organisations to form a consensus on this issue. “Apart from excluding tourism sector from hartals, the government should give priority to protect the tourists and institutions in this sector during hartal days,” said Baby.

The KTM Society is a non-profit organization that includes multiple industry stakeholders working together to promote tourism in Kerala and strengthen the tourism economy.

KTM has also welcomed Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s call to treat tourism as an essential service like hospital, newspaper and milk delivery, and similarly exempt from the purview of the hartal shutdowns.

Jose Pradeep, secretary, KTM said the statements of the Chief Minister and of the various party leaders were highly encouraging for the possibility of a consensus opinion to form regarding the exclusion.

Baby Mathew elaborated on the extent of damage the industry and the economy suffer because of the shutdowns. “Tourism sector contributes crores of rupees to the state’s economy and employs tens of thousands of people. Hartals leave visitors to Kerala in a lurch and shut down services, gravely affecting the sector and consequently our economic progress. We are very happy to see the Chief Minister understands the situation and we fully back his suggestion.”

“Flash hartals” that catch tourists unawares and threaten their freedom of movement are also on the rise in Kerala, he noted. “While we promote our state as God’s Own Country overseas, it greatly damages our efforts when we cannot even ensure basic freedom of movement to travellers within our state,” he said. “At a time when other states in India and neighbouring countries like Sri Lanka are campaigning aggressively to attract tourists, alienating travellers would have grave long-term repercussions on both our economy and our status as a preferred global tourism destination.”

“If this situation prevails here, entrepreneurs and investors will hesitate to start new ventures in Kerala. Tourists, who are stranded due to lack of food and transportation facilities during hartal days will not show any interest in visiting Kerala again,” Baby said.

Stay up to date on all the latest Kochi news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp