Coronavirus: Kerala tourism sector hit by pandemic

Kochi (Kerala) [India], Mar 15 (ANI): The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has heavily impacted the tourism industry in Kerala. Shops, resorts and boat operators have been facing the brunt of the slowdown due to lower tourist footfalls.

Most of the shops near the Kerala Trade Centre were closed as few citizens ventured out of their homes amid fears about the pandemic. Kerala has 22 confirmed cases of coronavirus.

Azeez, District President of Kerala Hotel and Restaurants Association (KHRA), told ANI: "Not only tourists, but even ordinary people have stopped venturing out. Hotels are facing a heavy loss. Earlier, hotels used to be open till 11:30 PM, but now most are empty by 9 PM."

He further stated that the association has requested the Kerala government and Finance Minister to provide financial relief to the hotel sector.

Azeez said that the association has also provided masks to all its workers. "The association will approach hospitals immediately if any worker is found to be in a serious condition," he added.

Speaking to ANI, a boat operator Siddique said: "Due to coronavirus outbreak, the tourism sector of Kerala is facing huge losses. Boat services are largely dependent on tourists and are likely to be the worst affected. Earlier, at least 12 boats used to go out in a single day, but now it is reduced to a single boat."

The marine drive spots in the city were almost empty while roads too seem to wear a deserted look.

"The number of tourists has come down drastically in the last two or three weeks. Usually, tourists used to look for go out on boats on weekends. However, now we have no work as very few people are coming," said Sabu, a boat operator.

A few of them also slammed the Kerala government for lack of timely action against the pandemic.

"We depend on tourism, but the government has done little for the sector," another worker from the sector Shalvi said.

Meanwhile, the District Tourism Promotion Council today shut down all water theme parks in Kodimatha to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Notably, the number of coronavirus cases in the country has risen to 107, informed the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare today.

In the wake of spurt in cases of coronavirus across the country, the Central Government on Saturday decided to treat the deadly virus as a "notified disaster".

Coronavirus, which originated in China's Wuhan city in December last year, has so far spread to more than 100 countries, infecting over 1,30,000 people. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared coronavirus a pandemic. (ANI)