Joint efforts by states vital to revive pandemic-hit tourism: Kerala

Thiruvananthapuram: Greater co-operation among states by evolving mutually beneficial policies and strategies is vital to revive tourism in the country, battered by COVID-19 pandemic, Kerala Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran said on Tuesday.

The Minister was addressing a virtual summit organised by ET TravelWorld, a digital travel magazine.

'The Changing Face of Travel' was the core theme of the conclave, attended by leading travel industry figures and policymakers from state tourism boards.

The participants deliberated on pressing issues of travel and tourism industry and the way forward, with a special focus on domestic tourism.

"A key objective of the summit is to leverage the potential of domestic tourism. This calls for increased co-operation and co-ordination among all states by formulating mutually beneficial policies and strategies," Surendran said.

He noted that the state tourism ministers summit hosted by Kerala last year had come up with a resolution on the need to rationalise taxes and tariffs by striving to evolve a consensus.

"As we are emerging out of the pandemic-induced crisis, such an approach assumes greater significance now," Surendran said.

A globally-renowned brand, Kerala Tourism has been no exception to the global downturn.

The state has reopened most of its tourist centres, resulting in a consistent uptick in footfalls.

With restrictions being relaxed, the state is hoping that the tourist season that coincides with the year-end and the New Year would further pick up, he said.

"There is a lot of fatigue in peoples minds due to quarantines, lockdowns, isolation and work from home schedules imposed by the pandemic and they will be looking forward to coming out of homes and re-energise themselves," the minister said.

The state has been strictly following the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) put in place by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Union tourism ministry for hotels, accommodation units, resorts and transport operators.

Kerala Tourism has added more products to its attractive bouquet like Veli Miniature Train in the state capital, flagged off recently.

Vellar Craft village, near Kovalam beach, will be opened on December 17 by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

Shangumugham, Kovalam and Varkala beaches, Akkulam tourist village and various destinations across the state are being renovated.

Around 40 new destinations, which have been beautified recently, are awaiting tourists, he added.

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