Thiruvananthapuram, Aug 18: Kerala Tourism Minister A C Moideen today sought a "relook" on closure of liquor bars in tourist hotspots in the state which has seen a fall in arrivals causing a loss to the tourism industry.
The previous UDF government had decided to close down 700-odd liquor bars attached to hotels below five star categories in 2014. Kerala has seen a severe dip in tourist arrivals and fall in revenues following the closure of bars.
"The present excise policy has dealt a severe blow to the tourism industry in Kerala," Moideen told reporters here.
"There has been a severe fall in the growth of tourist arrivals in the state. With hotels not serving liquor, conferences have come down and the state is losing out," he said, adding, liquor should be made available in bars in tourist hotspots.
Tourism Department's report has been submitted to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, he said. In Kerala, while the domestic arrival of tourists touched 124,65,571 in 2015, a growth of 6.59 per cent, figure for foreign tourist arrival was 9,77,479 (5.86 per cent growth), he said. In 2014, domestic tourist arrivals stood at 116,95,411 (7.71 per cent) against 9,23,366 (7.60 per cent) of international visitors, while in 2013 it was 108,57,811 (7.75 per cent) and foreign tourists 8,58,143 (8.12 per cent).
During 2014, the state earned Rs 6,398.93 crore in foreign exchange earnings showing a 15 per cent increase, while it was Rs 6,949.88 crore last year with a dip of 8.6 per cent. The total revenue generated from tourism (direct and indirect) in 2014 was Rs 24,885.44 crore (12.11 per cent) while in 2015 it was Rs 26,689.63 crore (7.25 per cent).