‘Responsible tourism’ back on track?

 While Kerala was never envisioned as a hedonistic destination, the previous government’s Excise policy restricting liquor to five-star hotels, in its own way , undid the basis of the state’s tourism

Published: 17th September 2017 01:10 PM  |   Last Updated: 17th September 2017 01:10 PM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

KOCHI: While Kerala was never envisioned as a hedonistic destination, the previous government’s Excise policy restricting liquor to five-star hotels, in its own way , undid the basis of the state’s tourism industry built on a unique model fitting in well with what is now called ‘responsible tourism’. Tourism was creating livelihoods and jobs - a Central-government study commissioned in the state learnt one in four jobs came from this sector - particularly in the small and medium sector with small resorts, houseboats, home and farm stays, and small Ayurveda and Yoga centres. 

“As opposed to employees in foreign attire serving Indo-Chinese food in hotels set in modern buildings, local entrepreneurs built or remodelled cottages in local styles, served local Malayali food and hired local youth,” said Jose Dominic, CEO of the CGH Earth chain, which pioneered ecologically sustainable tourism in the state. “It was an extraordinary success which in a short time enabled high room occupancy and revenue.” 

He said the liquor policy was a slap in the face for the Malayali entrepreneur and sent a completely wrong signal. Entrepreneurs found they had to chase the five-star label which is large-scale, located in cities and what can be called anonymous and faceless. While as far as the new age ‘Alert Independent Traveller’ is concerned, the most desired location is the backwaters and rural Kerala.

Retired British lawyer Peter Wilde, holidaying in Mararikulam, said this rule just means he has to cycle out of the resort to get alcohol and drink in his room, rather than in a social atmosphere with other vacationers. “Also, the hotel and government loses out on profits and taxes,” said Peter, who has been coming to the state for the past nearly 20 years and holidays in Kerala four times a year with wife Judith. “Stopping tourists from having a drink only makes us think twice about coming here. It doesn’t stop problems like domestic violence or other mischief. The earlier policy was a bit indiscriminate.”
Now, the industry is hoping for more positive change with Alphons Kannanthanam’s appointment as Union Minister of State for Tourism. 

Stay up to date on all the latest Kerala news with The New Indian Express App. Download now

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.