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Kerala Tourism during the Pandemic

b200626-in-kerala A boat house sailing calmly through the Vembanad lake in Kerala.

KERALA: A land that never fails to leave a tourist speechless with its divine natural beauty, a destination that is a narrow strip of land located at the tip of India. Kerala is blessed with an array of different landscapes, such as quiet backwaters, pristine beaches, lush green forests, and many more natural attractions. Kerala is undoubtedly a fudge for a tourist who loves nature. The natural beauty of the land is soothing to the eyes, and the destination's ancient art forms are surely a treat to the soul. The destination's natural beauty, culture, and local ethos goes hand in hand and is an excellent example of sustainable tourism in India. The term sustainable tourism might be new to some destinations worldwide, but it isn't a new terminology for this southern state in India. Kumarakom, a quirky village known for the Vembanad lake in Kerala, was the first destination in India to implement responsible tourism practices. The outbreak of the pandemic recently has left many countries startled, but this quirky little state has shown the path to contain the disease in India. The state has already learned its lesson the hard way during the Nipah virus outbreak in 2018, which led to a decline in tourist arrivals. However, it managed to contain the epidemic successfully and managed to revive tourism in the destination. Kerala is also a hotspot for ecotourism projects like Thenmala Ecotourism Project is paving the way to developments such as wildlife sanctuary and deer rehabilitation center. This project is also said to offer leisure and adventure zones for visitors bearing the environment and local community in mind. Recent news states that ecotourism centers in Kerala would open soon with a hike in the entry fare and strict social distancing measures. It is said that the lockdown in the state has caused severe revenue loss, and it has also affected the people that were dependent on tourism for their livelihood. Kerala has understood the importance of sustainable tourism to maintain a balance with nature and the local community to generate profit and promote sustainable tourism. Kerala altogether employs 5,000 employees, including tribespeople, to support the 60 ecotourism centers across the state, and this makes it clear about the number of people that are dependent on sustainable tourism in Kerala. Contained the pandemic successfully, it is a smart move by the Kerala government to open its ecotourism centers to preserve the livelihood of the tourism workers and to generate income sustainably. 

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