The tourism minister of Kerala said that the travel advisories issued by the US and the UK, asking their citizens to be cautious while visiting the state, were an insult to the southern state. The travel advisories by the US and the UK came in the backdrop of incidents of violent protests in Kerala over the entry of women into the Lord Ayyappa Shrine at Sabarimala.
“They haven’t said don’t go, but asked to remain vigilant. That itself is insulting,” Kerala Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran said on Sunday. He also said that the protests led by the BJP, the RSS and other right wing outfits had hit the tourism sector of Kerala.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), which regularly updates its advice for travel to different parts of the world, said on Friday that any British citizens planning to travel to Kerala should monitor media reports, be vigilant and avoid large public gatherings.
According to media reports, the US has also issued a similar advisory.
Ten per cent of Kerala’s GDP comes from the tourism sector. The tourism industry is worried that frequent hartals and protests would severely impact the state which is slowly recovering from the massive devastation caused by the floods last year.
Kerala has been rocked by violent protests by right wing groups after two women of the menstruating age entered the Lord Ayyappa shrine in Sabarimala on January 2. Over 3,000 persons were arrested till Friday night in connection with the violence.