TravTalk - India

Kerala reinvents tourism

- Janice Alyosius

With domestic and internatio­nal flights are all set to operate at pre-pandemic level, Kerala is getting ready to receive both domestic and internatio­nal tourists by offering a bouquet of new experience­s and products, including caravans, longer stays and customised vacations.

With tourism activity back in full swing in the time-tested locales like beaches, hill stations, backwaters and houseboats in Kerala, the state promises a variety of choices for guests all through the year, said V. R. Krishna Teja,

Director, Kerala Tourism.

“Approximat­ely 35 domestic tourists and two internatio­nal tourists arrive in Kerala every minute, making it India's number one upscale tourist destinatio­n. The pandemic affected Kerala severely; however, the state has come out of COVID with its strategies to contain and manage the waves. The government is working on a comprehens­ive and speedy vaccinatio­n programme for almost all tourism stakeholde­rs across the state. We have also developed a four-pronged approach – of testing, tracking, tracing and treating - to manage the curve,” he said.

Speaking of the offerings, Teja said, “Kerala is well known for its Ayurvedic treatments, which is reliant on three factors. The first factor is its moist and warm climate, the second is the freshness of the oil made from fresh leaves, and the third is the right technique & skill. Ayurveda is a culture in Kerala; the terrain, climate, biodiversi­ty, scientific approach and trained manpower, all make the state a wellness vacation destinatio­n.”

Additional­ly, Kerala has reinvented itself as an adventure tourism destinatio­n with special focus on nature-based activities in the hills and forests of the Western Ghats. Another aspect of Kerala tourism is responsibl­e tourism, where the government is working to develop Through experienti­al tour packages across Kerala, the state provides rural and cultural experience­s for tourists tourism to be environmen­tally sustainabl­e, community-led and economical­ly beneficial to the local people. “Each hotel seeks to procure items from locals, and every activity seeks to involve the locals,” he said. "Each rupee you spend in Kerala, the maximum amount will go to the local people.

Through experienti­al tour packages across the state, the state provides rural and cultural experience­s for tourists, as well as create job opportunit­ies for locals,” he added.

To provide travellers with new experience­s, the government launched a policy of caravan tourism. Under the policy, specially designed buses take tourists to the unexplored destinatio­ns with caravan parks, where they are offered camping experience­s and other fun activities. Over 100 caravan parks are coming up in the state. There are three sizes of caravans - 5m, 7m and 9m, which cost 7,000-`8,000, 3,000

15,000, and 22,000-`25,000, respective­ly. Each caravan comes with a chauffeur, and the smaller caravan allows self-drive as well. ` ` ` `

While reinventin­g Kerala tourism, the government has also successful­ly converted the traditiona­l snake boat races into the champion boat league. “The race is to be held every Saturday from August to November at 12 different locations,” Teja revealed.

Additional­ly, the state is committed to increasing the stay of domestic tourists. On an average, domestic tourists stay in Kerala for 4 to 5 days, but the aim is to increase this average up to 7 days. The government has prepared a schedule for each day to offer unique experience­s.

A series of travel trade networking activities, including participat­ion in trade fairs, and organisati­on of B2B partnershi­p meets and roadshows have been planned to introduce the new products to a wider audience. Major internatio­nal tourism events where Kerala plans to showcase its strength in the next three months include the 28th Internatio­nal Mediterran­ean Tourism Market (IMTM) at Tel Aviv (Israel) and at BIT Milan (Italy). Also, B2B meets will be held in Madrid and Milan.

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 ?? ?? V R Krishna Teja Director, Kerala Tourism
V R Krishna Teja Director, Kerala Tourism
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