TOUR operators in India are opposing Kerala's recently announced ban on liquor, saying the move would compromise tourism performance for the state.
Every bar in Kerala has been issued a 15-day notice to shut operations by September 12 as the state government prepares to achieve total alcohol prohibition in 10 years. Ten per cent of 383 state-owned liquor shops will also be shut yearly.
Speaking at the annual convention of the Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) last week, EM Najeeb, chairman of IATO’s Kerala Chapter, said: “We fear losing a substantial number of foreign tourists to neighbouring Sri Lanka.”
Subhash Goyal, president, IATO, also chimed in: “Though the government will still allow alcohol in five-star hotels from April next year, we need to keep in mind that not all tourists stay in five-star accommodation. So this is bound to have an adverse impact on tourist arrivals in Kerala.”
“We are going to write to the honorable prime minister highlighting the challenges for the state’s tourism sector will likely face in the wake of the ban,” said Goyal.