Many hotels were forced to cancel New Year celebrations

Besides taking away life and causing damage to property, the severe cyclonic storm ‘Thane' has cast a pall of gloom over the tourism industry, which was considered one of the key engines of the region's growth.

The timing of the natural calamity, before the run up to the New Year celebrations, has taken a toll particularly on the hospitality segment.

“The direct and indirect loss to the tourism industry as a whole is estimated to be around Rs. 50 crore,” Tourism Director A. S Sivakumar said. A majority of the high end hotels and resorts that have “invested a huge amount” for publicity and preparations were compelled to cancel New Year parties, he said adding even those who went ahead could get only thin attendance.

“The loss to the hospitality industry was huge and some of them have even terminated services of temporary workers recruited locally. A newly constructed private resort sustained extensive damage,” he added. The damage caused by the violent storm to tourism infrastructure would take months to be rectified.

The Chunnambar Boat House, probably the only recreation place for tourists here, has been completely ravaged. Squally winds have wiped away most of the green cover in the area.

“All the trees, some of the years old, are gone. It's an invaluable loss and would take years to bring back the green cover,” he said. The boat house, which attracts thousands of tourists on holidays, wore a devastated look with uprooted trees, damaged play equipment and tossed boats. More than 15 boats, including Jet Ski, mechanised and motorised high speed boats suffered damage. Similarly, huts and restaurants inside Paradise Island have been washed away.

Mr. Sivakumar said the boat house alone sustained damage to the tune of Rs 1.75 crore.