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Tuesday, 05 June, 2018, 09 : 15 AM [IST]

Kerala to activate its communications channels to get the travel advisories revoked

IMA says the state is absolutely safe
As the scare emanated out of the Nipah virus cases in some places in North Kerala receding, Kerala will activate its communication channels with countries which have pronounced travel advisories for their citizens to revoke the same. Few countries in the Middle East had imposed travel advisories for their citizens as well imposed ban on import of fruits and vegetables from Kerala since cases of deaths due to Nipah virus reported from Kozhikode and Malappuram districts of the state. 

The state would try to reassure tourism world that due to the timely intervention and stringent safety protocols, the virus has been contained without spreading it beyond a very small area. The statement by Dr Ravi Wankadekar, President of Indian Medical Association (IMA) that the state is absolutely safe from the virus has come at a very appropriate time and the state will use it as a communication tool to reassure the world to alley any fears about the virus. IMA is currently holding their conference in Kovalam which is being attended by around 300 doctors from across the country. Even Tourism Minister, Kadakampally Surendran has welcomed the statement by the IMA President and said that conference itself is a testimony that the state is safe.  

The travel and tourism industry in the state has also heaved a sigh of relief that the scare has been contained due to diligent handling by the government and the health department. They hoped that those countries which imposed travel ban to the State would revoke it sooner than later. Similarly, they hoped that the domestic market will also take note of it and start bouncing back to Kerala.

Jose Dominic, Managing Director, CGH Earth Hotels commented, “The hard times of Nipah virus are gone. The government and the state health department has worked round the clock to tackle the situation. Domestic market and MICE activities were impacted but we are positive in few weeks’ time business will stabilize.” However, he felt that if the government and its agencies do not activate the communication with countries to lift the travel advisories, the business from the Middle East in the coming months will be impacted.  
Aneesh Kumar PK, President, ATTOI said, “The industry was adversely impacted in the initial stage of Nipah virus. We saw large number of cancellations and no new bookings. Now the situation is relaxed. Government has been very pro-active in fighting with the consequences of the virus and bringing the situation back to normal. There have been travel advisories issued by some countries in Middle East but we believe these advisories will soon be relaxed as the positive message is disseminated.”

Riyaz UC, Managing Director, Spiceland Holidays while lauding the efforts of the government in tackling the scare said that more than the international tourists it was the domestic arrivals which got impacted because of the safety concerns. “Yes, there were some cancellations by some concerned tourists, especially from the domestic sector. That was quite nominal. As far as travel advisories are concerned, the government has already activated its channels with high commissions of respective countries and hopeful that it will be revoked in a couple of days’ time.”

Sejoe Jose, Chairman, IATO Kerala Chapter stated, “Nipah virus scare is almost gone now. There are still negative news and information running around on social media that Kerala isn’t safe to travel. The government and health department has worked extensively to eradicate the spread of the scare and try to normalize the situation across the state. The Tourism Ministry has discussed with various tour operators’ associations to bring the tourism back to business in the state. The government is working out plans to tackle the situation risen because of the travel advisory.  We are hopeful that travel advisories from various countries will soon be relaxed soon.”
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