Mon­soon washes away Ni­pah woes, boosts Ker­ala tourism

Financial Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - MINI TEJASWI

AF­TER a month-long lull, tourism in Ker­ala is all set to warm up with mon­soon wash­ing away the woes brought in by the Ni­pah virus. Ni­pah in­deed played a damp­ener and tourism, the state’s big­gest rev­enue earner, was an im­me­di­ate ca­su­alty. Most of the tour/travel/leisure book­ings were can­celled, but things have be­come nor­mal in the last 15 days with mon­soon hol­i­days kick­ing in, say travel agents.

“The Ni­pah scare seems to have set­tled now. Ker­ala prob­a­bly is the only des­ti­na­tion in the coun­try that is booked for all 365 days. Some 50 per cent of all en­quiries we get in Ban­ga­lore are for var­i­ous des­ti­na­tions in Ker­ala,’’ says Pan­neer Sel­vam, pro­pri­etor of Ban­ga­lore-based Ac­cess Des­ti­na­tion. Mean­while, the depart­ment of tourism in Ker­ala has de­cided to launch a five-month long, coun­try­wide pro­mo­tional cam­paign. It will or­gan­ise tourism road shows, busi­ness and part­ner­ship meets in var­i­ous cities to at­tract do­mes­tic trav­ellers to its var­i­ous des­ti­na­tions.

In ad­di­tion to this, the state will also par­tic­i­pate in tourism fairs in Kolkata, Bhubanesh­war, Vi­jayawada, Hy­der­abad, Ban­ga­lore, Ahmed­abad, Vado­dara, Nag­pur and Mum­bai. Through road shows and travel fairs, the state is aim­ing to es­tab­lish new trade con­nec­tions across the po­ten­tial mar­kets.

Rani Ge­orge, sec­re­tary, tourism and cul­ture, Gov­ern­ment of Ker­ala, says, “Ker­ala Tourism has wit­nessed a re­mark­able in­crease in the num­ber of do­mes­tic tourist ar­rivals. We have an am­bi­tious tar­get of in­creas­ing do­mes­tic tourist ar­rivals by 50 per cent by 2021 through pro­mo­tional cam­paigns.’’

Dis­tricts like Alap­puzha, Idukki, Wy­nad, Thiru­vanan­tha­pu­ram and Er­naku­lam had at­tracted the max­i­mum num­ber of do­mes­tic tourists in 2017. The state had hosted a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of trav­ellers from south­ern states – Tamil Nadu, Kar­nataka, Andhra Pradesh and Te­lan­gana. Kar­nataka stood at sec­ond po­si­tion with 9.33 lakh tourists, while Ma­ha­rash­tra stood at third slot with 5.47 lakh tourists. There had also been a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in tourist ar­rivals from Delhi (18.67 per cent in­crease) and Gu­jarat (24.48 per cent in­crease) with 2,40,672 and 2,39,228 trav­ellers, re­spec­tively.

BC Ki­ran of Out­door World, a des­ti­na­tion ad­vi­sory firm based in Ban­ga­lore, ob­serves that af­ter do­ing Kar­nataka des­ti­na­tions like Sak­lesh­pur, Chik­ma­galur and Coorg mul­ti­ple times, hol­i­day mak­ers in Ban­ga­lore are in­creas­ingly look­ing at Ker­ala’s Wy­nad, Alleppy, Idukki, Thekkady and Mun­nar. “A large per­cent­age of peo­ple want to ex­plore re­ju­ve­na­tion pack­ages in Ker­ala for a week or two. Ear­lier we used to see such queries com­ing few times a year from IT pro­fes­sion­als or se­nior cit­i­zens. To­day we have Ker­ala ayurveda re­lated queries round the year from cus­tomers of all pro­files,’’ adds Ki­ran.

As per Jangu Lepcha, manag­ing di­rec­tor of Jan-guAd­vern­tures, “When I started my des­ti­na­tion ven­ture a few years ago, I never felt the need of ex­pand­ing my busi­ness be­yond North East and Nepal. I spe­cialise in Lepcha tribe hol­i­days that by it­self is very com­pre­hen­sive in terms of of­fer­ings. Most of my cus­tomers are groups from in­ter­na­tional mar­kets and they want to ex­plore Ker­ala as well. So now I am do­ing a recce to know Ker­ala be­fore I take my guests there.’’

“We are happy to show­case the rich cul­ture and her­itage we have. Ker­ala is a great des­ti­na­tion for do­mes­tic leisure and we want to con­vey this mes­sage to the en­tire coun­try through our new cam­paigns,’’ adds Ker­ala tourism min­is­ter Kadakam­pally Suren­dran.

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