A large number of cases of suspected chikungunya fever in Kerala will not affect the state's booming tourism sector, Tourism Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said Tuesday.
"As the World Health Organisation (WHO) has come out with a report saying that the fever widespread here is not chikungunya, things have cheered up. There have been no reports of cancellation by tourists who have already booked to travel to Kerala," Balakrishnan told reporters here.
The fever, which has claimed more than 130 lives in this season, had hit tourist hotspots like Alappuzha, Kumarakom, Kollam and Kovalam.
The fresh tourist season is all set to commence later this month and the industry is gearing up for it.
"We have given directions to strengthen tourism clubs in colleges and schools to ensure that Kerala is kept clean and this season we expect better participation from these clubs which would add colour to the tourism season," added the minister.
Kerala Tourism director B. Suman said there was a plan to build three dhows that would showcase for tourists how the 16th century spice trade with the Middle East used to be conducted.
"Each dhow will cost Rs.10 million. We have sought the central government's financial assistance. Once we get the green signal, work would begin for it," said Suman.
Meanwhile, the fifth India International Boat Show would begin at Kochi Oct 20.
"The show would also have 16 boats that are coming from Greece as part of the Vasco da Gama Yacht rally and en route to the finishing point in Portugal," said Suman.