THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Tourist destinations across the state will be opened for visitors from Monday, bringing cheers to the hospitality sector ahead of Onam. As part of revising the lockdown restrictions, the state government announced that all tourist spots in open spaces will be accessible to domestic visitors from Mondays to Saturdays.
The forest department has also decided to open all eco-tourism spots from Monday in the light of the government fixing new guidelines for people going out.A tourism department officer said all destinations, including beaches, hill stations and spots offering houseboat services, will be open to visitors.
“If any particular area is declared containment zone, the respective district collector can order closure of the destination. With the new directive, the eco-tourism spots under various forest development agencies — like other tourist spots — which were deserted in the wake of the Covid second wave, will be teeming with holidayers by Onam,” the officer said.
In the absence of foreign visitors, the department is hoping to cash in on the domestic tourism potential.
“The sector has already sustained a loss of Rs 33,000 crore from March to December 2020 and the loss in forex is estimated at Rs 7,000 crore,” said Tourism Minister P A Mohamed Riyas. He said the tourism department is planning to bring out an app linking the unexplored destinations across the state to provide details of the spots to tourists.
E M Najeeb, president of Confederation of Kerala Tourism Industry, said the hospitality sector is ready to follow all guidelines suggested by the government to open the sector. “Next, the government should convince other states about the real situation in Kerala as this would help more people visit the state. Some states have been insisting that their people go into mandatory quarantine if they visit Kerala. This has to be changed, for which the government’s intervention is necessary,” he said.
What and who are allowed
- Only persons who have taken at least one dose of vaccine before two weeks, or who are in possession of RT-PCR negative certificate less than 72 hours old or who are in possession of Covid positive result that is more than a month old will be allowed to visit tourist places
- All tourist centres and related establishments should display the status of vaccination of employees and number of persons permitted at a time
- Accommodation facilities like hotels, resorts etc will be allowed in bio-bubble model in all areas on all days