Domestic tourism in Thiruvananthapuram may get affected by rising coronavirus cases

Kerala Tourism, which is banking on domestic tourism in the wake of the ban on international air travel, has a hurdle to cross. The district of Thiruvananthapuram, which is home to quite a few travel destinations including the likes of Kovalam, Shangumugham and the Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple, has become a Covid-19 hotspot.  

Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran has expressed anxiety over the transmission of coronavirus in Thiruvananthapuram, especially within the city. He stated that the current situation does not demand closing down the city but the residents must adhere to the guidelines issued by the government.

With the coronavirus community transmission looming, the Thiruvananthapuram city corporation has clamped down on travel, by restricting key entry points and enhancing patrolling of affected areas.

The functioning of Palayam and Chalai markets and major shopping centres have been affected as shops can only be opened on alternate days. The police are controlling the entry of people into public places and this could affect domestic tourists to a great extent. 

Minister Surendran said it was extremely unfortunate that the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) employee, who tested COVID positive, went to attend a wedding and also pay his electricity bill. He requested people to attend only important functions in the family, like the wedding of close relatives.

More hotels in Kovalam are looking to reopen, after being closed for weeks due to lockdown induced by the coronavirus crisis. But the worsening Covid-19 situation in Thiruvananthapuram will not help matters.

Sagara Beach Resort, Kovalam, a popular destination among tourists, had reopened earlier this month. Sagara’s managing director, R Sisupalan, had said it was meaningless to shut business activities for a long time. Sagara Beach Resort is adjacent to the light-house at the southern end of the Kovalam beach.

To make tourists feel safe, all shops have been asked to provide sanitisers. Physical distancing too has to be followed strictly. Shops which fail to follow these steps will be shut down and the licences cancelled temporarily.

“We will increase our monitoring in the coastal regions to ensure that there is no local transmission. As of now we have 31 institutional quarantine centres. Five new such centres will be opened based on health circles of Vizhinjam, Poonthura, Attipra, Shangumugham and Kazhakoottam which cover our coastal region,” said Mayor K Sreekumar. The decision was taken in the wake of concerns about local transmission in the coastal areas.  

The coastal areas of the district are filled with several tourist spots, but the pandemic has made it difficult for domestic travellers to get to these destinations.

In any case getting to Thiruvananthapuram has always been a bit difficult due to the poor air connectivity from other states of India. UDS Hotels CEO Raj Gopaal Iyer has gone on record stating that his clients spend more on the flight fare to the city rather than on their accommodation and leisure.