Kerala lost 18 per cent tourists after floods: Kannanthanam

INDIAN FLASH NEWS SERVICE

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala that always had a rising graph in tourism sector seems not to have a brighter side this time with reports of a downsize in tourist arrival. Minister of State (independent charge) for Tourism Alphons Kannanthanam has said that Kerala has lost about 18 per cent of tourists after the devastating floods that hit the state in August.

He openly said that he was not happy with ranking of the state in the tourism sector of the country. Kannanthanam told this to reporters ahead of the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Kerala, where he would inaugurate a tourism project related to Padmanabhaswami temple in Thiruvanathapuram on January 15.

The tourism project is being launched at the famed Padmanabhaswamy temple as part of the swadesh darshan project The project envisages developing basic facilities in and around religious institutions. He also said that 75.88 crore has been sanctioned for Padmanabhaswami temple as per the project and over 95 per cent work has been completed.

Kannanthanam also said that the country’s target was 40 million tourists on an annual basis by 2026. Making it known publically, the union minister said that he wanted to see his state improving from the present position. Mentioning that neighbouring Tamil Nadu was much sought after by domestic tourists, he said that Tamil Nadu occupied the first position in terms of domestic tourist arrivals and were in third position with respect to foreign arrivals. Kerala was now positioned in the 16th place with respect to domestic arrivals and eight with respect to foreign tourists, he said.

It is a reality that Kerala is yet to get over the series of misfortunes last year. Starting from Nipah scare to the devastating flood in August had given harrowing days for the tourism sector in the state. Tour operators in the state said that there was a huge drop of both domestic as well as foreign tourists. The hotel business and homestays did not see the business which they used to in the previous years, a tour operator said.

Official sources told IFNS that the tourism industry has faced a business loss of more than 40 per cent this fiscal. However, they said that tourism sector was limping back with more arrivals of foreign as well as domestic travellers. The officials also hoped that Kerala come out of the crisis in the coming days and point out that more arrivals (both foreign as well as domestic tourists) was testimony to this.

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