KOZHIKODE: The state’s most sought after destination is in high spirits with the government lifting the bar on bars and liquor outlets. Tourism authorities are gung ho about the new relaxed norms, saying it will give the much-needed shot in the arm to the flow of visitors. District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC) project manager M S Dinesh told Express the effect of the new policy is yet to be felt in the district. “But, it will definitely attract more travellers. The Onam season witnessed a huge spurt in the number of visitors. We cannot confirm if it was because of the sale of liquor or because of the festive occasion. Yet, when the bars were shut down, there was a drop in tourist arrivals,” he said, adding as of now two three-star hotels have reopened their bars.
Liquor served in three and five-star hotels is the main attraction at conferences, said Vythiri Village Resort manager M K Mohammed. “The number of national conferences being held in our resort has increased after we opened the bar. We have been getting visitors from Delhi, Mumbai, Gujarat, Bengaluru and many from within the state.” He said the demand for liquor is higher among Indians than foreigners. “Several tourists had opted to stay in other locations just because our resort did not serve liquor earlier.”
“Lifting of curbs on liquor sale has had considerable effects on tourism,” said Wayanad Toursim Organisation president Vancheeswaran K R. He believes the sale of liquor has removed the ‘dampness’ tourists had experienced during the ‘dry spell’. “Wayanad and Kodagu in neighbouring Karnataka are locations with a lot of resemblance. The sale of liquor here would give a competitive edge and pull in more tourists from other states.”