Kerala to promote safe stay in hotels, resorts

Facilities will serve as bio-bubbles; guests should have taken at least one dose of vaccine; staff should be fully vaccinated

Guests who have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine will be allowed to stay at hotels and resorts where the staff are fully vaccinated, Minister for Tourism P.A. Mohamed Riyas said on Sunday.

The decision is part of the efforts to give a leg-up to the State’s tourism sector by boosting domestic tourism, Mr. Riyas told a press conference here. This will be applicable to hotels, resorts, houseboats, and other accommodation units. Guests will not be disturbed even if the locality is declared as a containment zone.

The idea is that such facilities should operate as bio-bubbles where the guests can enjoy their stay safely, Mr. Riyas and Additional Chief Secretary (Tourism) V. Venu said.

Vythiri’s case

Mr. Riyas cited the example of Vythiri in Wayanad district where 100% vaccination was achieved with the help of the Health Department.

The Chief Secretary has directed the District Collectors and District Police Chiefs to ensure that guests with hotel bookings have unhindered passage to their destinations, he said.

According to the Minister, the sector has suffered losses to the tune of ₹33,000 crore between March 2020 and December 2020. Foreign exchange earnings have plummeted by ₹7,000 crore. Around 15 lakh people are dependent on the sector in the State.

The department is placing emphasis on domestic tourism as foreign tourist arrivals are not expected to bounce back soon. The Minister reiterated the department’s plans to launch an app introducing unexplored destinations with tourism potential in every district.

Virtual Onam fete

The Tourism Department is organising virtual Onam celebrations this year, given the limitations imposed by the pandemic. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will inaugurate the Onam celebrations on August 14.

Keralites all over the world can post pictures of their ‘Onapookkalam’ on the digital platform of the department under the ‘Viswamanavikathayude Onapookkalam’ event. Entries stand to win prizes. Online registration will begin on August 10.

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