Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala's premier tourism body -- the Confederation of Kerala Tourism Industry (CKTI) -- on Tuesday demanded that the state government take immediate steps to reopen the tourism sector that has been closed for the past six months due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The money spinning tourism industry in the state employs 15 lakh people directly and 20 lakh people indirectly.
The tourism sector brings in more than Rs 45,000 crore and contributed nearly 12 per cent to the state's GDP in 2019.
CKTI President E M Najeeb said the Central and state governments should take long-term measures to rescue the sector and intervene to restart businesses with adequate safety and health control measures.
"States like Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Goa and Maharashtra have opened the tourism sector with and without Covid protocols. The positive response from the Kerala government with financial packages and reopening of bars to support and restart the tourism businesses are a welcome sign and we are confident of a strong comeback of tourism in the state by December end," Najeeb added.
Sajeev Kurup, CKTI General Secretary, said the situation was that more than 4,000 closed hotels, resorts, 1,000 houseboats, ayurvedic centres, tour operators and home stay owners, apart from water-theme parks, taxi drivers, tourist guides and units in the adventure tourism sector were in dire financial straits due to the continuous lockdown of the tourist attractions in the state.
"If things do not change, then the sector might have to close down permanently. We are ready to adhere to state government protocols and directions, including regular Covid testing," Kurup added.