Unfazed by coronavirus fears, Kerala beckons tourists

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Allaying fears of Coronavirus impacting visitors, Kerala is beckoning domestic and overseas tourists to discover 'God's own country,' a state tourism official said on Tuesday.

"No fears of coronavirus affecting tourists, as all precautionary and preventive measures are being taken to ensure their health and welfare remains intact across the state," Kerala Tourism officer Pradeep Chandran said.

Though three persons were affected by the disease in the state recently, they were treated and discharged from hospitals after recovering fully.

"As of now, there is no impact on tourists visiting the state from other parts of the country or abroad. Kerala is safe like any other state. Foreign visitors coming from affected countries are screened at all the four airports in the state and quarantined if they have symptoms of the virus," Chandran said.

Noting that it was too early to say on the likely fallout of the deadly disease on tourism in the state if panic spread, Chandran admitted some tourist operators reported a few cancellations since a week due to more awareness and coverage of it in the national and international media.

"We hope fears of Covid-19 spreading or affecting more people will be contained and free movement of people will resume and continue as before," he added.

As a hot destination, Kerala witnessed 16 per cent yearly increase in the first three quarters of 2109 from domestic tourists till September 30 and 8.5 per cent growth from foreign tourists in the last calendar year.

"We had 8.9 million (89 lakh) domestic tourists and 1.1 million (11 lakh) foreign tourists in 2019, with a double-digit growth over 2018," Chandran said on the margins of a roadshow here to promote tourism in Kerala.

The state tourism department is holding trade fairs in 10 cities across the country to showcase Kerala's rich flora, fauna, heritage, temples and long coastline.

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