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Sinking houseboats and swaying home stays: community resilience and local impacts of COVID-19 in managing tourism crisis in Kerala

Bindi Varghese (Department of Tourism Studies, Christ University, Bangalore, India)
Joseph Chacko Chennattuserry (Department of International Studies, Political Science and History, Christ University, Bangalore, India)
Joseph Varghese Kureethara (Department of Mathematics, Christ University, Bangalore, India)

International Journal of Tourism Cities

ISSN: 2056-5607

Article publication date: 13 April 2022

Issue publication date: 9 December 2022




The tourism sector of the state of Kerala in India is highly vulnerable and has been extensively impacted by the global pandemic disaster. This paper aims to analyze the impact of COVID-19 (Corona virus pandemic) on houseboat operators and homestay managers.


This paper indicates a multi-stakeholder assessment method to examine various pandemic disaster facets through a structured discussion with different destination stakeholders. This study examines qualitative data collected through semi-structured interviews from homestay owners, houseboat operators and government designators in Kerala. This study proposes a conceptual community resilience competency framework that could facilitate speedy crisis management responses. In this study, the sample comprises of nine respondents who play a pivotal role in the travel business, comprising the public sector, private sector, NGO's and community leaders.


The qualitative findings identify India’s and the state of Kerala's roles in handling crisis management scenarios over internal strategies and strategy formulation. The results indicate that the supplementary industry practitioners explore tactical and strategic management initiatives to sustain their businesses. The dynamics of stakeholder engagement adopted by the state is given prominence.


This study suggests mechanisms to re-establish the brand image and the possible strategies and suggestions that could help in the survival of the Kerala tourism industry in the post-disaster period. The “new normal” has been substantiated in the study by incorporating strategies and precautionary methods adopted by the homestay and houseboat operators so as to address the guests' safety concerns.



Varghese, B., Chennattuserry, J.C. and Kureethara, J.V. (2022), "Sinking houseboats and swaying home stays: community resilience and local impacts of COVID-19 in managing tourism crisis in Kerala", International Journal of Tourism Cities, Vol. 8 No. 4, pp. 805-819.



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