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US, US travel advisory following Sabarimala row a big setback for Kerala tourism, says minister

Kerala has been witnessing widespread violence since Wednesday after two women-Bindu Ammini, 42, and Kanakadurga, 44- entered the hilltop shrine, following which Sabarimala Karma Samithi, an umbrella organisation of Hindu groups, had called a statewide bandh on Thursday.

  As fresh incidents of violence continued to mar peace in Kerala following the entry of two women into the Sabarimala temple, state tourism minister Kadakampally Surendran on Sunday said travel advisories issued by the US and UK to its citizens were a real setback to the state.

The foreign offices of the United States and the United Kingdom have issued a travel advisory to its citizens travelling in Kerala to remain vigilant and avoid large public gatherings.

“There have been protests in some towns and cities in Kerala over the issue of women accessing Sabarimala temple. Some public services have been disrupted in the wake of clashes between police and protesters. If you are in the state, remain vigilant and avoid public gatherings,” said the advisory issued by the foreign and commonwealth office. (Follow live updates of Sabarimala temple row here)

“These advisories really humiliated us. More than 10% of the state GDP is based on hospitality industry and there is a concerted effort to target this,” he said.

In the last few shutdowns in Kerala, tourists were targeted in a planned manner and it was a ploy aimed at breaking the back of the state economy, said the tourism minister.

He added that the state, which is a leader in the tourism sector, has never experienced such a situation before.



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