THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Tourist destinations in the district witnessed a good turnout during the Onam season as the government relaxed the strict lockdown restrictions. However, the homestay owners say they received a mixed response as some destinations in the district received only a few tourists.
“During the festival season last year, the tourism sector was shut down. Though we reopened our homestays this year, there was less tourist inflow due to the second wave. There is a slight increase in the number of bookings now and we hope there will be more tourist inflow in the coming days,” said Manoj M P of Ganesh Homestay in Kovalam.
With the tourism sector opening many tourist centres in the district have got a fresh lease of life. While Ponmudi, one of the most favoured hill stations which remained closed for a long time owing to the pandemic, opened to the public and witnessed a fairly good response, beach destinations such as Varkala and Shankhumukham didn’t see much footfall.
However, Kovalam witnessed a good turnout with many families visiting the beach during the weekend.
“Many tourist spots in the state experienced a huge turnout during holidays. Munnar was one of the most preferred destinations along with Ponmudi. Although there was a huge rush in Marine Drive in Kochi and Kovalam in Thiruvananthapuram, there was not much demand for the homestays. However, reopening has brought some respite to the sector,” said Kerala State Homestay and Tourism Society secretary M P Sivadathan.
According to District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC) secretary Bindu Mani, the decision to reopen destinations has helped tourism stakeholders get their business back on track. “Many people turned up in large numbers to the beach destinations. Other tourist centres such as Veli also witnessed good footfall,” said Bindu.Meanwhile, some homestay owners said they didn’t receive any bookings. Jayaprakash T of Gokulam Homestay said, “We didn’t receive any enquiry or booking this year even though the tourist destinations were open. Only a few homestays in Kovalam got bookings but the majority are closed
due to lack of business. The licence of homestay facilities has to be renewed but we are still clueless about how to pay the fee.”