In the midst of Covid-19 pandemic, it is pretty evident that the Upanishad sloka ‘atithi devo bhava’ (guests are divine) has taken a backseat in Kerala. At present there are over 5000 tourists in the state, and Kerala which proclaims itself as “God’s Own Country” has turned inhospitable exhibiting fear and parochialism in these times of corona virus.
Some tourists who came to Kerala this month are finding it difficult to get hotel rooms and are being denied entry into restaurants. Besides accommodation and food, these foreign tourists who were always welcomed with glee for their dollars and euros, now find it near impossible to get autorickshaws and taxies to travel to and fro from railway stations and airports. Many had to take refuge in government hospitals.
The Kerala Chief Minister, Pinarayi Vijayan, had to finally intervene and admonish Keralites for their cruel behavior reminding them that the tourism industry is a major industry in the state. Vijayan said, in many places where the tourists were shut out by the people, the police had to step in and find them accommodation.