COVID second wave dashes hopes of tourism entrepreneurs

Curbs on travel, containment zone regulations affect bookings at homestays

A quite unexpected second wave of COVID-19 has dashed the hopes of several homestay and local tourism entrepreneurs who are now back to square one with no options left out to overcome their business woes. Many bookings have already been cancelled with the increasing restrictions on travel and containment zone regulations.

There are also entrepreneurs who even renovated their homestay facilities investing huge amounts, and refurbished houseboats expecting some extra income.

“The saddest thing is that we will miss this season as well amidst the pandemic spread. Last year also the situation was almost the same. Those who made additional investment to recoup the loss are the worst-affected now,” says T. Saleesh, a rural tourism entrepreneur from Koorachundu. He adds that many small entrepreneurs who faced huge loss following the pandemic outbreak will not be able to make up for the loss in the current situation.

Romeo Thomas, a young homestay entrepreneur from Karikandanpara, says the whole business is going through an unprecedented crisis at an unexpected time. Mr. Thomas, who recently renovated his homestay with many novel additions, adds that there has been a huge drop in the number of visitors and he struggles a lot to find maintenance expenses with the limited number of bookings.

Those who earned a living by selling homemade food to domestic and international tourists near tourism facilities are also heading to a crisis with the continuing pandemic scare. Many of them have already shut their ventures with the sudden fall in the number of visitors. The situation is also likely to hit many self-help groups of women associated with food-based ventures in the sector.

According to Tourism Department officials, tourism facilities owned by the State government are also facing crisis with a steep fall in revenue. As public parks, ecotourism spots and beach destinations are likely to remain closed, it will definitely hit the revenue generated in the form of entrance fee and other special charges, they point out.

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