Four-day-long Pooja holidays help Wayanad Tourism shake away Nipah slumber

Even after the ticket counter closed for the day, several tourists lingered at 'En Ooru' tribal heritage village in Wayanad on Sunday. Photo: Special Arrangement

Wayanad: The tourism industry of Wayanad, which was thrown out of gear after the Nipah outbreak in the neighbouring Kozhikode district, is back with a bang.

Thanks to the four-day-long pooja holidays in Kerala and Karnataka, resorts, homestays and hotels with lodging facilities are fully booked till Tuesday, according to industry sources.

The traffic through the Thamarassery Ghat road is progressing at a snail’s pace due to the large number of tourists coming to Wayanad. The journey between Lakkidy and Adivaram, though just a 9 km stretch, takes more than 1 hour due to the labyrinthian queue of vehicles. 
Passengers have been advised to carry water, food and sufficient fuel in the vehicle, assuming the traffic congestion will go on for hours. Police and NDRF are continuing their efforts to ease traffic, especially around the 8th hairpin curve.

Due to the high rush, entry to the 'En Ooru' tribal heritage village at Lakkidy was closed by noon on Monday as the number of visitors touched 2,000, the maximum permitted number of visitors per day. “Even after the closure of bookings, there was a large crowd seen roaming around inquiring whether they would get a chance to enter,” said Abhinand CB, Assistant Manager of EN Ooru.

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Traffic congestion at Thamarassery Ghat Road in Wayanad. Photo: Manorama Online

"By Saturday evening itself we had sold out around 1,500 tickets online and the case of today is not much different,” he said. “With the high number of online bookings, in the coming days the entry to the heritage village will be closed much earlier,” he said.

All major tourism destinations operated by the District Tourism Development Council (DTPC), including Pookode Lake, Kanthanpara and Edakkal Caves are witnessing huge crowds.

“We feel, the industry, which witnessed a sudden fall in footfalls after the Nipah reported last month, is witnessing a resurrection now, with almost all the tourism properties full”, said Ajesh KG, member secretary, of District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC).

“Reports from all our tourism destinations indicate a high number of footfalls in the recent past”, he said. “By the end of the week itself all the major resorts were reserved and the flow spilt over to second and third layers of tourism properties which are also full now”, he added.

The sudden surge in demand for rooms and cottages has put the industry in an upbeat mood. “During the Nipah days we had a lot of cancellations as the focus of the world shifted to Kerala for a few days”, said C P Shylesh, secretary, of Wayanad Tourism Organization (WTO). “That has changed now," he said.

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