Tsunamis yet to impact tourist flow in Kerala
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Tsunamis yet to impact tourist flow in Kerala

By siliconindia News Bureau and IANS   |   Tuesday, 28 December 2004, 08:00 Hrs
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THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Two days after killer tsunamis struck Kerala, the tourism industry is worried but says there has been little impact on the flow of globetrotters so far.

"The Kerala tourism department and industry have sent about 2,000 messages to tourism partners across the world to say things are fine in the places that tourists normally frequent," E.M. Najeeb, a premier tourism player in the private sector, told IANS.

The state tourism industry is relieved that prominent beaches in Kovalam near here and Mararikulam in Alappuzha, which are hugely popular with tourists, have been left untouched by the surging sea.

The tsunamis that struck Sunday have killed at least 6,000 people in India, including 160 in Kerala.

Jose Dominic of CGH Earth, which has a slew of premium properties in Kerala and Lakshadweep, said they had been getting calls from tourists in Britain and Germany inquiring about the situation.

"Cancellations are negligible but the calls are increasing and we have briefed the callers about what has occurred," Dominic told IANS.

"My property at the Mararikulam beach front is full today and tourists who are there have been helping us by sending back proper information."

G. Sudheesh Kumar, who has a luxury hotel facing the Kovalam beach, said: "Every day we are getting scores of e-mails from guests who have been regular visitors at my resort.

"What is happening is only natural and we feel there will be no problem because anywhere in the world people can sit in their drawing rooms and find out the real situation," said Kumar.

Another saving grace is that the houseboat industry at Alappuzha, which boasts of scenic backwaters, is operating in full swing.

On Monday, a day after the tsunamis struck barely 25 km away, the backwaters did not see a single cancellation.

Tomy Pullikattil who owns a fleet of houseboats said so far there had been no cancellations. "Our business is going on as usual."

The Kerala tourism industry has been looking forward to a highly profitable season, with most hotels and resorts overbooked for the peak season that has just begun.

The state had an excellent year in the last season when it closed with a record turnover of 59.38 billion, up from 49.31 billion in the season prior to that.

Likewise there was a 39 percent increase in foreign exchange earnings that touched 9.83 billion.

There was a jump of 29.6 percent in the total number of foreigners who visited Kerala, with the number going up to 294,000. The state also attracted a record number of 5.9 million domestic tourists.




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