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Saturday, 14 March, 2020, 11 : 00 AM [IST]

Coronavirus: Homestays in Kochi gear up for hard times

According to The Hindu, homestays in the district are staring at a bleak prospect with the outbreak of COVID-19 taking a toll on the tourism and hospitality industries.

The pandemic could not have run roughshod over the homestay business at a more inopportune time as they had only just about recovered from the serious blows dealt in quick succession since 2018 by the deluge followed by the outbreak of Nipah and another flood last August.

“The future hardly looks bright though mixed fortunes appear to be in store for homestays in the district. Usually, homestays record 70% occupancy during March. But this time it has gone down for majority of homestays with the future bookings not looking that bright either though it is not as bleak as during the 2018 deluge,” said M.P. Sivadattan, Director, Kerala Homestay and Tourism Society.

With bookings online and through travel agencies remaining largely suspended till the month-end, the over 100 classified homestays, out of which 60-odd were in Fort Kochi, and over 300 unclassified homestays, catering mostly to Europeans, may have more bad news in the store.

“Our business is now largely restricted to a four-month window between December and March. Usually, the rooms are full till the end of March. However, this time the business started affecting since February with the outbreak of COVID-19 and March seems as good as lost now,” said Johnson Cletus, who runs a homestay at Fort Kochi where only two out of the six rooms are occupied now.

He claimed that the revenues have been so seriously hurt that it would be hard to pay the staff and utility bills.

Sunil Babu, another homestay operator at Fort Kochi, said that to be on the safer side he voluntarily chose to block all bookings till May 31. (Source: The Hindu)

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