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Wednesday, 22 August, 2018, 09 : 45 AM [IST]

Kerala’s tourism industry forms independent task force to support relief and rehabilitation work in the State

While support is pouring in from across the world for the flood-hit State, Kerala’s tourism industry stakeholders have also got together to form an independent task force to support the relief and rehabilitation work that is underway in the State. Around 28 travel, tourism and hospitality industry associations in the State met in Kochi yesterday to form Kerala Tourism Task Force, an independent voluntary body, to support the government and the administration in different districts of the State. 

According to Shailesh Nair, one of the coordinators of the task force, they will identify areas where help is required and consolidate the relief work in those areas in a targeted manner in coordination with district administration. The meeting also formed different sub-committees with specific responsibilities.  

“The travel and tourism industry is also very much actively involved in the relief and rehabilitation activities and supporting the district administrations,” said EM Najeeb, Vice President, Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO), who is also a key member of the Kerala Tourism Task Force. “We have appealed to IATO members to donate generously to the CM Relief Fund. We will also use the forthcoming IATO annual convention platform for this cause,” he added.

“The State hasn’t seen a calamity of this proportion before. Therefore, priority now is not tourism but rescue, relief and rehabilitation. The spirit in Kerala is all for one and one for all now. The whole industry is participating in the relief and rehabilitation work. The world is watching Kerala and coming forward to help and support the State,” said Jose Dominic, Managing Director, CGH Earth Hotels. He said that it is quite important for the people and the government to work together to clean up the State and restore it.  Once that is done, there will be another surge in tourists into the State to see and understand for themselves the difficulties their favourite destination went through, he added.

Irrespective of the challenges ahead, the tourism industry in the State is putting on a brave face.  “We are all currently focusing on rescue and rehabilitation,” says PK Anishkumar, President, Association of Tourism Trade Organisations India (ATTOI).  The situation will start improving with the opening of the Cochin International airport, he feels.  While destinations like Munnar and Thekkady will be inaccessible for some time, the wellness tourism and beach tourism destinations will get back as soon the flood water recedes, he said.  “Kerala Travel Mart (KTM) slated for September last week will mark the revival of tourism in the State,” he added.

 
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