Known as a duck capital and famous for its houseboats, Alappuzha's domestic tourism market has been rocked by the culling of lakhs of ducks. Just one houseboat association witnessed 21 cancellations in two days, a most worrying situation at the peak of the season.
"We have stopped serving meat. It's only fish now but they are scared. One house boat owner lost 7 bookings yesterday. It's going to get worse," said Josekutty Joseph, president of Kerala House Boat Owner's Association.
Several eating joints have declined to serve duck and chicken delicacies in the immediate impact of the flu.
"Business will be hit. We are already facing cancellations. There is a severe negative response from customers, even though we are not serving duck and chicken dishes. It's just the beginning, we are expecting worse," said Aarvind, manager, of 'Brothers', a hotel popular for its duck roasts.
The H5N1 strain of virus is pandemic and contagious to human beings. According to the World Health Organisation, while millions of fowls have died due to the Avian Influenza, only 393 human deaths have been recorded globally between 2003-2013.
According to experts, the first step to avoid any human infection is to control the virus in animals.