Special Correspondent

Industry heading for collapse, says KTDC chairman

Sharp decrease

in tourist inflow

Government told to come up with intensive measures

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Chairman of the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC) Cherian Philip has the tourism industry in Kerala is likely to collapse unless the Government came up with strong measures to counter the threat posed by the outbreak of epidemics.

An official release quoting Mr. Philip said here on Friday that the outbreak of chikungunya in the State had impacted heavily on the tourism sector. The number of tourists visiting the State during the last two months had shown a sharp decrease compared to the figures last year. This, he said, was the result of relentless campaign about Kerala as the epicentre of dreaded diseases.

“Several foreign tour operators who had booked facilities for the monsoon tourism and ayurveda tourism packages have cancelled their bookings following the scare. There were reports that 700 people in Kerala had succumbed to chikungunya. Even people who had died of other causes were being added to the list of people who succumbed to chikungunya. The situation has sparked alarm among tourists waiting to visit Kerala,” he said.

Mr. Philip urged the Government to come up with intensive and practical measures to improve sanitation. He called for a campaign to remove the unfounded fears about the spread of epidemic diseases in the State.

Mr. Philip called upon the Government to join hands with the private sector to install solid waste treatment plants at tourism centres. He proposed special medical teams for tourists.

“The spectre of terrorism was largely responsible for the collapse of tourism industry in Kashmir. But that proved beneficial for Kerala. If immediate steps are not taken to revive tourism in the State, we will lose out to rivals like the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Singapore and Malaysia,” he said.

Mr. Philip stressed the need for a concerted effort to revitalise the sector in the State and put it back on the rails.