KOCHI: The new liquor policy is giving nightmares to the people who have business interests in the travel and tourism industry.
Members of Kerala Travel Mart (KTM) have raised concerns that the new liquor policy will affect state’s growing travel, tourism and IT sectors.
Speaking to reporters at a press meet, president of KTM, Johny Abraham George said that the cancellation of bar licences will cause a mighty drop in the revenue of the government and this in turn will affect the allied industries.
According to George, 95 per cent of liquor is sold by the beverages outlets and only 5 per cent is sold through bars. “The government has invited many entrepreneurs and companies to invest in the tourism sector. By imposing a total ban on liquor without discussing it with anyone will affect business in this sector,” he said.
The members of KTM demanded that the government should allow the bars which are being closed to reopen as Beer and Wine Parlours without NOC. The hotels which remit `20 lakh and above as luxury tax and also earn `50 lakh through foreign currency should also be given bar license in the same lines as that of the five star hotels.
“Issuing special liquor licenses to tourists’ can be another way to tackle the issue. It is obvious that tourists arrive in Kerala to enjoy their holidays. Drinking wine or beer is a part of their culture and if we deny such facilities, they will go to other states or countries.
Last year, more than 1 crore domestic tourists and 8 lakh foreign tourists visited Kerala putting `25,000 crore in the state government’s kitty. Out of the `25,000 crore, `5,000 crore was earned in foreign currency.
Jose Dominic, advisor to India Tourism and ex-president of Kerala Travel Martsaid that with tourism becoming popular in Sri Lanka, the inflow of tourists will further decrease with the new liquor policy. Besides, some people from other states working at IT firms here will no longer prefer to come to Kerala. G Gopinath, president, Association of Approved and Classified Hotels of Kerala also spoke.