Kerala Tourism Department recently issued an 11-point guidelines to the newly-constituted District-level Help Desks, firmly instructing them to remain functional round-the-clock and provide all assistance to tourists to make their stay in the state hassle-free, provide basic amenities in emergency needs and sort out the issues relating to their visas and quarantine in view of the outbreak of COVID-19.
As per the guidelines, the Help Desks should provide all the assistance to tourists who have no prior booking and have sought accommodation in the state. “If rooms are not available in private accommodation options, the matter should be brought to the notice of Managing Director, Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC) for arranging accommodation in the nearest KTDC property,” it said.
Kadakampally Surendran, Tourism Minister, Government of Kerala said these guidelines have been issued to beef up measures to curb the spread of Corona virus in the state. “The Health Department had earlier issued travel advisories to ensure the well-being of tourists. I hope the new set of guidelines will enormously supplement the measures being taken by the state government in all earnest to curb the spread of the contagion,” he said.
Rani George, Secretary- Tourism, Government of Kerala said the travel and tourism trade has been extending all support to the efforts of the department in providing assistance to the tourists who are in need of help. The trade has already formed groups of volunteers to work in tandem with district tourism officials to handle issues, if any.
The guidelines, which were issued by Kerala Tourism Director P Bala Kiran, also mandate the Help Desks to arrange food, water and local transport if there is any instance of emergency assistance for such amenities. It also said expenditure for providing such amenities would be reimbursed by the department later.
The department instructed the Help Desks to immediately intimate to the police authority concerned and the District Collector if they find that the visa period for tourists under quarantine has expired. “If any asymptomatic tourist wants to go back to his/her home country, he/she should be directed to the COVID-19 District cell of Health Department for medical examination as per the guidelines issued by the Health Department on March 17,2020,” it said.
Further, all the information and suggestions in the Travel Advisory of Health Department, which were issued on March 13, must be widely disseminated and strictly followed in the district by the Help Desks.
While asking the Help Desks to remain vigilant to address any related issues, the guidelines said they should monitor the latest developments with utmost care. Also, they should be in constant touch with the volunteer committees comprising the members of tourism trade associations.
Lastly, the guidelines said the Help Desks should contact the State-level Help Desk (Mob. 9995454696 and 9447363538. On Tuesday, the Tourism Department had announced the setting up of round-the-clock help desks in the state capital and district headquarters and also their mobile numbers.
The central help desk at the Directorate of Tourism can be accessed by calling 9995454696 (Mr. Sajeev KR, Tourist Information Officer) or 9447363538 (Mr. Ramesh TP, Tourist Information Officer).