It’s raining discounts in tourism sector

Faced with the prospect of COVID-19 playing spoilsport with the third tourist season in a row, accommodation units and houseboat operators have slashed rates to woo guests.

Most houseboat operators are offering substantial discount to attract tourists, considering the sudden lull in the arrival of guests following the surge in cases, says Jobin Akkarakalam, president of the Kerala Houseboat Owners’ Federation. “Most people from within Kerala prefer day trips, while those from other States opt for night stay as well. The possible third wave of the pandemic led to little inflow of tourists even during the Pongal week.”

The net result was that business was confined mostly to weekends. The impending travel curbs on Sunday could further dampen arrivals. Already, houseboats having deluxe suite slashed tariff from ₹10,000 to ₹6,000, while luxury vessels decreased rates from ₹25,000 to ₹16,000. Lowering of tariff alone will not help, most boat operators are in dire need of government help to maintain their vessels, this being a capital intensive sector, he says.

Homestays too have considerably slashed rates, including at Fort Kochi. The Fort Kochi destination committee of the Kerala Homestay and Tourism Society decided on Thursday to slash tariff by a minimum of 25%.

“The third wave has severely impacted the sector that was recovering from the first and second waves of the pandemic. It is the main source of income for most families that rent out a room or two as homestays. Even worse, the Kochi Corporation is yet to pass a resolution to implement orders and circulars issued by Kerala Tourism and the Local Self Government Department regarding homestays,” says Santosh Tom, district president of the society.

Secretary of the Kerala Travel Mart Society Jose Pradeep says most hotels which recorded good business during December were banking on the ongoing tourist season to make up for the loss incurred during the past two years.

“The slump which began with curbs on night travel during December end is continuing, due to the higher number of COVID-19 cases. The third wave has once again hit tourism. Many doubt whether reduction of tariff alone will help, since there are fixed costs and wages for staff. The government must at least extend the moratorium on loan repayment,” he says.

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Printable version | May 28, 2022 12:08:58 am |