Union minister K J Alphons wrote to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday and urged him to permit the central government employees to avail leave travel concession (LTC) allowance to visit Kerala as it would boost tourism in the flood-ravaged state.
At present, the central government employees can avail their hometown LTC allowance to visit Jammu and Kashmir, northeast region and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The employees get reimbursement of tickets for to and fro journey, besides paid leaves.
Alphons said he has proposed that the benefit be extended to Kerala as well.
“If 48.41 lakh central government employees travel to the state, it will be a big boost to the tourism industry which is still recovering from the floods. I have written to the Prime Minister and I am hoping he will agree to my request.
“Under this, the employees can use their hometown LTC to travel to the state,” Alphons told agencies.
Sources in the ministry said Kerala’s Tourism Department had sent the proposal to the ministry soon after estimates by the State Disaster Management Authority stated the industry had suffered Rs 1,800 crore losses Rs 300 crore in infrastructure of hotels and resorts and Rs 1,500 crore through cancellations between August and October.
According to official figures, Kerala has a Rs 39,000 crore tourism business, out of which Rs 20,000 crore revenue comes from domestic tourism.
“I want to reiterate for all travellers that Kerala is ready for tourists. More and more people should travel to the state. I am myself going there to participate in the Kerala Tourism Mart from September 27,” Alphons said.
On Thursday, the Centre extended the scheme to allow the central government employees to travel to Jammu and Kashmir, northeast region and Andaman and Nicobar Islands on LTC allowance for two more years till September 2020. While the scheme was introduced in 2014, it was extended for two years in 2016.