KOCHI: After an initial setback due to reports on Nipah-related deaths, the Kerala tourism industry seems to be clawing back to normalcy.“There were cancellations initially, but now the situation is stabilising,” said Jose Dominic, MD and CEO of CGH Earth Group. “The way the state government handled the issue needs to be appreciated.”
The Health Department was quick to respond when the outbreak was reported from Kozhikode, and issued a travel advisory to four districts in northern Kerala. On Friday, the advisory, again issued by the department, brought down the number of districts to two — Kozhikode and Malappuram.“When the government Health Department issues an advisory, it gives credibility. And it also showed that what’s important is people and their lives, and not industry and trade,” said Dominic.
Johny Abraham George, a member of the Kerala Government’s Tourism Advisory Committee, and CMD of Intersight Tours & Travels, said the state’s tourism industry has been facing cancellations over the past five-six days. “The travel ban issued in the Gulf countries will affect Arab travellers who come to Kerala during the June-August period. We hope the travel ban will be lifted once the Nipah virus is contained, and eliminated,” he said.
Dominic said, when a plague outbreak was reported in Surat in the ‘90s, there were cancellations in Kerala. “Foreign travellers regard India as a whole during such outbreaks. If there are no more deaths, and the Nipah virus is contained, then the entire episode will be treated as a storm in a tea cup,” he said.