Kerala, After The Flood: Hotel occupancy to stay below 20-25% in September; fear of disease, epidemic keep tourists away

Mumbai: The fear of disease and epidemic post-the Kerala floods is likely to keep travellers away from the state, keeping the hotel occupancy rate in September below 20-25 percent against 60 percent in the same month last year, a report said on Monday. Over 400 people have died in the deluge in Kerala last month, impacting 10 of the 14 districts in the state.

Ernakulam, the largest tourism and industrial contributor to the state economy, was severely damaged, with the major Kochi airport shutting down for two weeks.

"Fear of disease and epidemic is keeping all but unavoidable travel away. Basis preliminary cancellations, occupancy in September is unlikely to cross 20-25 percent. It was around 60 percent during the same period last year," rating agency Icra said in its report.

Occupancies were under 10 percent during August across several premium properties in Kerala, even in business districts, according to the report.

Icra vice president and sector head Pavethra Ponniah said the agency got positive indication about an early recovery panning out over the next quarter from the local tourism industry. However, he feels this might take longer based on history and analysis, which indicates that the return of foreign tourists might be more gradual, over 12 to 16 month.

"Domestic travellers would return faster," he said.

Travel and tourism accounts for 10 percent of Kerala's gross state domestic product (GSDP) and 25 percent of the jobs in the state.

 Kerala, After The Flood: Hotel occupancy to stay below 20-25% in September; fear of disease, epidemic keep tourists away

During 2017, domestic tourists to Kerala grew by 11.4 percent to 147 lakh tourists, while foreign tourist arrivals (FTA) grew by 5.2 percent to 10.9 lakh tourists.

Total foreign exchange from the tourism sector during 2017 grew by 8.3 percent to Rs 8,392 crore, while the total revenue from tourism grew by 12.6 percent to Rs 33,384 crore.

Ponniah said although the floods have occurred during a monsoon-off-season for Kerala, most hotels, even those not affected by the floods, are already facing significant cancellations, running into the peak season in October and November.

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Updated Date: Sep 11, 2018 10:53:25 IST

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