Kerala Unveils ‘Bio-Bubble’ Model for Tourists as State Reopens Vacation Sites
File photo of artists performing Kalaripayattu Martial art during the Kerala Tourism Partnership Meet last year. (ANI photo)
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, Kerala – With tourist destinations reopening in Kerala after a long haul, the state Tourism Department has rolled out a “bio-bubble” model for vacationers in which only COVID-vaccinated staff will handle tourists from the time they arrive in the state right up to their destination.
The model is said to create protective layers of mostly inoculated service providers will receive and host tourists. “Bio-bubbles” are sanitized, safe and secure environments and people within them who are likely to come into contact with tourists are vaccinated.
According to Kerala Tourism Minister PA Mohammed Riyas, the protective ring of the “bio-bubble” will ensure that tourists landing in any airport in Kerala are met with only vaccinated ground staff.
“From the airport, they can drive to their chosen destinations in cabs, provided by accredited tour operators, whose drivers are all vaccinated. The same goes for the hotels, resorts or homestays they stay during their holiday, where the staff are vaccinated,” he said.
All tourism centers in Kerala reopened Aug. 9, and will be accessible to tourists who have administered at least the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, or possessing a negative RTPCR test certificate taken before 72 hours. This applies to hotels, resorts, homestays, houseboats and open spaces of tourist interest.
“Safety of guests is non-negotiable as far as Kerala tourism is concerned. The bio-bubble initiative is meant to ensure that the tourists have a risk-free stay in our state. This is a critical factor for revival of tourism, which has been hit hard by the pandemic. It was with this larger perspective that we successfully carried out the vaccination campaign covering the entire population in Vythiri,” the minister said.
Venu V, Additional Chief Secretary, Tourism, said that Kerala tourism has outlived crises like devastating natural calamities like floods and epidemics that battered its infrastructure and economy.
“We have proved to be resilient by bouncing back from each crisis. The best way to come out of this pandemic-induced setback is to set the highest premium on the safety of tourists,” said Venu.
“The lockdown-weary people from all corners of the world will be treading to safe and healthy places when tourism opens up globally and nationally. Going by our natural assets and advanced social milieu, Kerala has immense scope to tap the in-coming rush to unpolluted and less crowded spaces. Creation of a safety shield like the bio-bubble is a vital component in keeping the state tourism sector ready,” said V R Krishna Teja, director of Tourism, Kerala.
So far, over 43.37 percent of the state’s total population has been administered the first dose of vaccine and 18.08 percent with both the doses.