Kerala State Tourism Department has announced a one-time financial aid to houseboats and tourist guides who have lost their jobs and business due to COVID 19 related lockdown and travel restriction imposed globally since March 2020. Mr. Kadakampally Surendran, Minister for Tourism, Government of Kerala in a media conference said that the Special assistance scheme of the State Tourism Department is to protect the stagnant houseboat sector in the context of COVID 19 and to assist tourist guides.
Mr. Kadakampally Surendran said that the state tourism department will provide one-time financial assistance of Rs 10,000 for each tourist guide. It will benefit 251 tourist guides operating in the state with the approval of the Kerala Tourism Department and 77 tourist guides approved by India Tourism. A total of 328 tourist guides will be assisted, the minister said. The Government has given the administrative sanction of `32,80,000 / – for this. This benefit is available to regional, local, and state-level guides working with the approval of the Central and State Governments in the State.
The Department of Tourism has announced a one-time financial assistance scheme to protect the houseboat sector, which has come to a complete standstill due to COVID 19. Minister said that this financial assistance will be given as a maintenance grant to houseboats operating in Kerala. Rupees 80,000 / – for Silver Vessel, 100,000 / for Gold Vessel and 1,20,000 / – for Diamond Vessel categories. Houseboats are classified for financial assistance based on the number of rooms and facilities. Silver Vessel classification of Kerala Tourism department is the category having minimum facilities and Diamond Vessel is the category having the highest facilities. The tourism minister said the application should be submitted before November 30.
Financial assistance will be provided for houseboats with valid registration by the Kerala Ports Department. It is estimated that it will cost around Rs 10 crore. The one-time assistance fund for houseboats and tourist guides is the next step in announcing a Rs 455 crore loan assistance scheme for tourism entrepreneurs and workers.
Homestays are one of the best ways for tourists to enjoy our way of life, food, and culture. However, these homestays have so far been included in the commercial category by the local bodies. Accordingly, the building tax was levied by the local bodies at the commercial rate.
It has been ordered to shift from the commercial rate to the category of Residential Homestay. Homestays in single-family buildings as well as tourist accommodation are included in the category of Special Residential Home Stay. This is a solution to the long-standing need of homestay entrepreneurs in the state. About 1000 homestay owners are expected to benefit from this. This move will be a great relief to home stays entrepreneurs who have completely lost their business due to COVID 19. The solution was found in consultation with the Local Self Government Department of Kerala Government.
A few weeks back, the Government of Kerala had launched two loan support schemes for the employers and employees in the tourism industry affected by COVID 19.