TravTalk - India
Kerala reinvents tourism
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.