Taking hard stance against frequent hartals in the state, the Kerala Tourism Task Force, an initiative of Kerala Travel Mart (KTM) said the tourism industry will vehemently protest against enforced hartal which has become detrimental to the sector.
A joint meeting of 28 organisations in the tourism sector which convened here today passed a six-point resolution to ensure that services of the tourism industry is not hit due to shut down. The forum also made clear that they will not participate in the nation- wide strike which is to be held on January 8 and 9, 2019.
Baby Mathew, President, KTM said “Though we are not opposing a person’s right to disagree, we will refrain ourselves away from the enforced hartal. Tourism is the most affected industry during Nipah virus outbreak and floods, but we withstood it. Hartal is a man- made disaster which we will object.”
The task force will also take steps to file cases for heavy compensation to those who announce hartals and creating troubles to the industry with clear evidence, photo, and recordings.
The 28 organizations have unanimously adopted the six-point resolution to tackle the menace of hartal, said Mr Abraham George, former president KTM and Convenor, Kerala Tourism Task Force. “The Task Force will discuss the resolution with various organizations within the state to create awareness of the socio-economic stigma created by hartal.”
A resolution adopted by the meeting demanded the Government to provide police protection for the safety and security of tourists and tourism sector and uninterrupted functioning of institutions and services during hartals.
The forum also decided to approach the Government and other organizations, seeking to evolve a consensus to bring an end to the trend of enforcing hartals, obstructing free movement and freedom of functioning of service-providers and institutions.
The industry will also move contempt petition against the respective authorities and those who make the call for hartal.
In 2017, there were 121 hartals in the state, while in 2018 Kerala had faced 97 hartals so far. This means an average of 100 hartals happen in the state a year. According to government statistics, tourist arrivals in the state is roughly around 1.65 crore, 30% and 70% during off and on seasons respectively. By that reckoning, there will be around 70,000 tourists in the state, an average, per day. So when we take an average, their total loss comes to around Rs 200 crore per day, if they fail to carry out their plans on account of hartals.
That apart, the trend also tarnishes the image of the state, which is famous for its tourism and travel industry, the task force noted. When tourists face hartals, they will have nothing to narrate but the mental and physical ordeal they have to endure while on visit to Kerala, which will be a negative propaganda and will impede the future opportunities.
Former presidents of the KTM Society E M Najeeb, Jose Dominic, Riyaz Ahmed also spoke.