Within three days of the news of Nipah virus spreading in Kerala, tour operators and travel agents in Gujarat are fearing cancellation of bookings. Fresh departures to ‘Gods Own Country’ has also come to a standstill. Operators say that departments of tourism and health of Kerala government have sprung into action and so far there is no news of tourism being affected because of the outbreak of Nipah virus.

“However, with the news about the virus doing rounds, fresh departures have stopped. Clients are confused. There could be cancellations in days to come,” said Anuj Pathak, secretary of Travel Agents Association of Gujarat (TAG). Pathak told DNA that for the past two days, the association has been coordinating with all the tour operators in Gujarat, whose clients are on a tour in Kerala. They are also in a dialogue with the hoteliers and travel agents in Kerala to meet the fallout if the situation aggravates.

Bhavin Shah, Director of World Travels, a travel agency based out of Ahmedabad, said that so far there is no news of impact on Gujarati tourists in Kerala and things would be clearer in days to come. Mahesh Dudakiya, Founder and Director of Shakti Travels, also said that there is no news of any of his clients being affected by the outbreak of the virus.

Tour operators say that in case situation calls for refunds against cancellations, it will be handled well as the tourism authorities as well as hoteliers and tour operators in Kerala are extremely professional.

Pathak informed that the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation has sought details from all tour operators about their clients on vacation in Kerala so that they can go through a medical check upon return. “The AMC has set up camps at the airport and railway stations and we appreciate the initiative. So far there seems no reason to panic,” said Pathak.

Travelling to Kerala safe: Kerala govt

“A few cases of infection by Nipah virus have been reported from Kozhikode district in Kerala. The infections are highly localised, all cases being linked to one family. The government is conducting surveillance in Kozhikode district and in the neighbouring districts of Malappuram, Wayanad, and Kannur. The Health Department is taking effective steps to manage reported cases. The situation is under control. Travelling to any part of Kerala is safe. However, if travellers wish to be extra conscious, they may avoid the districts mentioned above.”

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