Thiruvananthapuram: Amid a spike in COVID-19 cases in Kerala, the state government has decided to hold Onam celebrations on virtual mode, informed State Tourism Minister PA Mohammed Riyas on Sunday.
The virtual celebration of the Onam festival will be formally inaugurated by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on August 14th.
"Events that introduce tourism destinations, art and culture, and food diversity will also be conducted with the help of visual media. Malayalees from all over the world can upload their Onampookkalam ( Floral decoration) on the Department of Tourism's digital platform. There will be special prizes for entries from Kerala and abroad. The registration facility on the website of the Department of Tourism will start on August 10," he said.
The Minister said that discussions are being held with various foreign Malayalee organizations.
"In collaboration with the digital media and television channels, preference will be given to the traditional arts and thereby creating opportunities for artists," he added.
Talking about ease in tourism, he said "Those who have been vaccinated with at least one dose will be allowed to stay in hotels. Protocol compliance should be adopted, including on beaches. An application is being made to inform tourists about new tourism destinations in the state." When asked about the impact of COVID-19 on tourism in the state, Minister said that a loss of 33,000 crores has been estimated from March 2020 to December 2020.
Onam is a harvest festival celebrated by Malayalees. The date is based on the Panchangam which falls on the 22nd Nakshatra Thiruvonam in the month Chingam of Malayalam calendar, which in the Gregorian calendar falls between August-September.
The state government had recently eased lockdown curbs and allowed shops and other establishments to operate for six days a week but it was decided to continue restrictions on Sunday.
According to a health bulletin, in the last 24 hours, the state has reported 20,367 new positive cases and 139 fresh deaths.
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