KOCHI: With hotels witnessing a 60 per cent dip in bookings and rush at popular tourism spots decreasing, the Tourism sector in Kochi is likely to feel the heat of demonetisation this season. The tourist season extending from October to March usually sees a rush of international and domestic visitors to Fort Kochi, one of the favourite tourism spots in the city. This year, the month of December will see a surge in demand for home stays in Fort Kochi area due to the upcoming mega art event Kochi-Muziris Biennale.
“But we expect business to dip this year. The economic slow down is likely to continue for a minimum of six months. So not only Fort Kochi but also the entire tourism sector in Kerala will be affected,” said Johny Abraham George, the managing director of The Intersight Tours and Travels. He is also the chairman and member of Kerala Government Tourism Advisory Committee.
He pointed out that if it was liqour policy which affected tourism industry last year, then this season demonetisation will deal a big blow. “Most of the international tourists have been advised by their administrators to not visit India in the wake of demonetisation. They are also apprehensive over the currency crunch. Most of the tourists prefer to use plastic money in their own countries. But when they visit countries like India, they carry out transactions in the local currency,” he added.
Citing Fort Kochi as an example, he said that a foreigner who comes here likes to have food from wayside eateries, buy curios from street vendors and travel in auto rickshaws. “Apart from large scale vendors, the card payment system is not viable at small or medium outlets,” he added.