Kochi: With no fresh Nipah cases being reported for the fifth straight day, it seems the visitors are at last feeling it is safe to travel to Kerala, which witnessed record tourist footfall so far this year.
The last three days saw the booking cancellations coming down substantially or to near zero mark, while the number of frantic enquiry calls over the disease too has registered a fall.
In fact, there is no major cancellation on the part of foreign tourists who have already finalized the itinerary of their visits to God’s Own Country during the peak seasonal months of November, December, and January.
Meanwhile, the state government has initiated an intense online campaign about ‘Kerala Tourism’. “There is no fall in the number of usual bookings from travellers from North India during the upcoming Puja holidays, later this month, and the Deepavali holidays, falling in October. The online campaign has been started to dispel any remaining concerns on the minds of any of the visitors,” officials said.
A section of the North Indian media and tourism lobby recently indulged in a negative campaign about the situation in the state. It was wrongly propagated that all the educational institutions in the state and its borders have been closed following the disease outbreak. The North Indian lobby wanted to woo tourists to destinations along the Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur routes. Except for the government declaring a holiday for schools in Kozhikode district till September 24, the rest are untrue.
One person was even booked for indulging in negative propaganda on social media. Meanwhile, the online campaign of the state government has started yielding results. Now if one searches Google whether it’s safe to travel to Kerala, the search results instantly pop up, ‘perfectly safe’. No country has issued any travel advisory against its citizens travelling to Kerala. Such e-mail enquiries too have now come down.
However, the postponement of the Malabar Tourism Meet (MTM), which was originally scheduled to start on September 22, has led to many tour operators from other states raising several questions.
Nippah had a major impact only on Wayanad Tourism, especially with regard to visitors from neighbouring Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. But a majority of travellers arrive at destinations along the Kochi-Thiruvananthapuram belt. The tour operators reckon that there is no change in the tour packages that start from Kochi and cover Alappuzha and Munnar before returning to Kochi or going to Thiruvananthapuram.