THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Unlike the previous year, Onam festivities will be in full glory this year as the government has decided not to impose any restrictions. Last year, the state had called off all festivities in view of the mega flood which dealt a heavy blow to the economy with the state entailing a loss of Rs 31,000 crore. Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran said two back-to-back floods have caused much hardship to the people and the economy as well.
“Since tourism is contributing about 12 per cent of the total GDP of the state, there is no point calling off festivities as around 5,000 artists have already been roped in for various programmes across the state and these festivities are expected to contribute to the direct and indirect revenue of the tourism sector and its allied sectors, which are the mainstay of thousands of families in the state,” he said.
The Champions Boat League, which envisages a series of races in the IPL format from August 31 to November 23 with the Tourism Department shelling out around Rs 20 crore for it, ‘Experience Ethnic Cuisine’ project aimed at serving Onam sadya (feast) to domestic and foreign tourists in picturesque countryside locations and Luncheon at Home initiative of the Kerala’s Responsible Tourism Mission at attractive packages are to be held as planned.
Last year, the state government, which had earmarked Rs 30 crore for cultural events to be held as part of Onam celebrations across the state, contributed the fund to the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund.
But this year, Onam Varagosham is to be held as planned and the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday decided to announce the stretch between Kowdiar and Manacaud as festival zone from September 10 to 16.
“This year, the Tourism Department has also decided to hold a conclave of Tourism Ministers across the country on the final day of Onam Varagosham in the capital to discuss common issues plaguing the sector and to bring them before the Central Government. September 16 was chosen for the conclave as it would enable them to witness the cultural gala of God’s Own Country,” said P Balakiran, Tourism director.