Liquor not a prerequisite for tourism: stakeholders
As per the new policy, only five-star hotels in the state would be allowed to serve liquor. Besides, this, the policy also envisages closing down 10 per cent of the 400-odd retail outlets of Kerala State Beverages Corporation every year with an aim to have total prohibition in ten years time.
A Supreme Court bench has asked the Kerala High Court to hear a plea of the Bar Owners Association which challenged the state government order asking them to shut down bars before September 30.
Asserting that liquor was not inevitable for tourism growth, Bose said the industry was of the opinion that even if the new policy would pose a hurdle for its growth, “we should overcome with proper planning.”
He also said in the short period itself, they were able to convince many tourists on the new liquor policy. “None of them got offended,” he added.
However, he expressed reservation on the prospects of “conference tourism” conducted by multi-national companies getting popular in the state. This type of tourism consists of a group of people in which ‘work is mixed with leisure,’ he said, adding, the policy might have some adverse effect.
Stating that social media is playing a vital role for the growth of tourism, he said flow of foreign tourists, especially from European countries to Alappuzha backwaters and hill-station Munnar, has increased in recent years.
“This is primarily due to the social media network.”
Jose Mathew, former Secretary of House Boat Owners Association based in Alappuzha, expressed confidence that industry could overcome the problems in the long run.
He termed as ‘exaggerated’ reports that there was rampant cancellation of tour programmes by domestic and foreign tourists. “Liquor is not an unavoidable factor for flow of tourists,” he said.
The upcoming Kerala Tourism Mart would definitely discuss the new liquor policy and would arrive at a practical solution in this regard, he added.