The News Minute
Every time the rules for COVID-19 restrictions changed in Kerala, the tourism sector would be deeply affected. Categorisation of regions based on the test positivity rate (number of people testing positive per 100) would change from week to week. Only regions in the A and B categories — with fewer cases — would get more relaxation. If the categorisation of a place changed to the more worrisome C or D categories, all the tourism units in that region had to close, and the tourists would be sent back. The increasing number of negative experiences of tourists prompted the industry to introduce the bio-bubble concept in the tourism sector.
By this, every person involved in a tourist’s visit to the state will be in a bio bubble and vaccinated with at least one dose. This includes the tourists, the airport staff, cab drivers, hotel staff, and people at tourist destinations. Film shoots and sports events have followed the bio-bubble concept, which involves a limited number of members who are tested, remain under quarantine, follow all safety protocols and have no interaction with any others for the entire duration.
In the government order dated August 4, open tourist spaces have been allowed to function from Monday to Saturday. All tourism centres and other establishments should display the status of vaccination of employees and the number of customers allowed at a time. "Accommodation facilities like hotels, resorts etc will be allowed in a bio-bubble model in all areas on all days," The order also mentions.
“Kerala's tourism was badly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a sector that provides direct and indirect employment to 1.5 million people, the crisis has far-reaching consequences on the state's economy. The revenue loss in the tourism sector is estimated to a tune of Rs 33,000 crore. However, now, Kerala tourism is on a path of revival. We are opening up slowly and getting ready to welcome tourists from all around the globe. A special emphasis will be given to boost domestic tourism also,” Minister for Tourism PA Mohammed Riyas tells TNM.