Thiruvananthapuram: The panoramic beaches of Kerala, one of the most sought after destinations of holidayers visiting the state, are all set to reopen on Sunday after months-long closure due to COVID 19 pandemic.
The tourism sector in the southern state had been in doldrums following the outbreak of the virus and the global coronavirus scare.
As part of the unlock process,the government had decided to open the tourism centres in the state in two phases.
Accordingly, in the first phase; the hill stations, adventure resorts and backwater tourism centres including houseboats were reopened on October 12,strictly adhering to the COVID protocol.
In the second phase, the beach tourism destinations will reopen on November 1, the Kerala Day (Kerala Piravi Day), Tourism Department sources here said.
The reopening of the beaches and the launch of 26 new tourism projects are expected to give a boost to the holiday sector, they said.
Tourism stakeholders also feel that the reopening of the beaches along with the hill stations would instil a renewed energy in the state holiday industry.
"The decision to reopen beaches after hill station is a welcome move by the state government. It will give a renewed energy and boost to the beach properties like hotels and resorts there.
It is also a solace to a large number of domestic families who like to spend their evenings in beaches and reduce their stress in this critical period,"E M Najeeb, senior vice president, Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) told PTI.
During this period of pandemic, only domestic tourists can be expected in the beach resorts though it was used to be preferred by foreign tourists more.
Kerala's pristine beaches, whether it is Kovalam, Varkala, or Bekal- are one of the most sought after destinations of global tourists, he added.
October saw the inauguration of 26 significant tourism projects in the state by the Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
In his address, the Chief Minister had said when the state, the country and the world survive COVID, Kerala would once again become a tourist paradise.
"The launch of the 26 new projects will mark the revival of the tourism sector in Kerala in the post-Covid season.
The pandemic came at a time when the tourism sector was thriving, overcoming many crises," Vijayan had said.
The tourism sector was estimated to have lost Rs 25,000 crores coupled with huge job losses.
The new projects are spread across almost all the districts in Kerala, from the popular hill station tourist centre Ponmudi in Thiruvananthapuram way up to the northernmost districts.
Some of the notable projects are Malamelpara tourism project in Kollam district, Kollam BeachandThani Beachprojects, the Green Tourism Complex in Pala, the Aruvikuzhi Tourism Development Project in Idukki district, the Malanad-North Malabar River Cruise Tourism Project and the Chingeri Hill Rock Adventure Tourism Project.