The Confederation of Kerala Tourism Industries (CKTI), seeks urgent financial aid package for the survival of the state’s biggest service industry sector and other recovery measures for the 15 lakh employees who are directly linked to travel, tourism and hospitality segments since the start of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
In the recently concluded series of online meetings, around 35 registered trade associations representing different tourism sectors function all over Kerala unanimously decided to continue under one umbrella organisation called CKTI and re-elected E.M Najeeb (Chairman ATE group, Senior Vice President of Indian Association of Tour Operators and Former President of KTM Society) as the President, and Sajeev Kurup (MD Ayurvedamana Hospitals, President Ayurveda Promotion Society and Former Secretary Of KTM Society ) as General Secretary.
Jose Dominic (Chairman of CGH Earth Hotels) is the Advisor and G. Gopinath (MD BTH Hotels Kochi and President Kerala Classified and Approved Hotels) as the Treasurer of the newly elected office bearers.
A 65-member Executive committee and 35-member Task force was also formed from all trade Associations. The main aim of CKTI is to ensure survival and then revival of the industry during and after the pandemic.
The Tourism Sector is the most important revenue generating sector in Kerala with a total revenue of Rs 45000 crores, which makes up 11.5 per cent of the state’s GDP and giving employment to more than 15 lakh people. The sector’s foreign exchange revenue during the last financial year is Rs 10000 crores, goes far beyond the IT sector. It is one of the hardest hit sectors in Kerala. Unfortunately, no relief measures were given by neither the central nor state governments till date and most of the skilled and experienced professionals within the industry workforce are out of jobs because of lockdown and majority of the investors and industry stakeholders are finding it difficult to maintain their businesses. Some of the professionals and investors have moved to different areas trying to salvage their businesses like fish sales, online and offline trade of pickles and food stuff, housekeeping contacts etc. just to make ends-meet.
The rest of the industry body also observe the current situation and are unable to contribute as the travel restrictions imposed worldwide from the last week of February and consequent lockdown since March 22, 2020.
The various tourism industry associations under CKTI have submitted many representations and suggestions to the governments for the mere survival and existence of the sector through financial aid packages and expect favorable decisions. These demands are completely justifiable given the situation and include waiving of taxes for one year and fixed electricity tariffs. The industry requests this from both state and Central Governments to ensure that the tourism industry survives this crisis.
The CKTI will now act as the united voice of Kerala Tourism Trade.