Monsoon washes away Nipah woes, boosts Kerala tourism
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.