Last year's income pegged at Rs 7,500 cr

V. Sajeev Kumar

It is estimated that more than 3.5 lakh foreign tourists and 60 lakh domestic tourists visited Kerala last year.

Kochi, Sept. 24

The arrival of overseas tourists into Kerala have shown a significant improvement with the State registering a 34 per cent increase in the first sixmonths of this year, according to Mr Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, the State Tourism Minister.

The State, he said, had earned more than Rs 7,500 crore on account of tourist arrivals in the calendar year 2005 and of this, Rs 1,550 crore was in foreign exchange alone. The spending by a foreign tourist in Kerala is estimated at Rs 2,800 per day on an average. They spent around 16 days in the State. While a domestic tourist spends Rs 1,200 a day.

New attractions

He said that the tourist centres in the Malabar region have emerged as the new attractive destination to foreign tourists, which was evident from the 200 per cent growth registered in Waynad district during the period. The districts of Thrissur and Kannur are the other two districts in the northern part of the State that witnessed a growth in the overseas tourists arrivals. With the commencement of Kerala Travel Mart- 2006, he hoped that the arrival of tourists to Malabar region would further increase.

There was also a seven per cent growth in the domestic tourist arrivals to the State during the period between January to June this year. It is estimated that more than 3.5 lakh foreign tourists and 60 lakh domestic tourists visited Kerala last year.

Mr Jose Dominic, President of the Kerala Travel Mart Society, said that Kerala had been recognised by the World Tourism Organisation as having ahigh rate of growth in overseas arrivals at 13 per cent surge in the last five years. There had also been an increase in domestic tourist arrivals from three per cent to 15 per cent.

Kerala Travel Mart, he said has emerged as Asia's biggest travel shows and the travel mart has been taken note of by the whole tourism world, which is evident from the enquiries received. Kerala ranks in the first three positions in national arrivals alongside Goa and Rajasthan as against the 15th position held by the State in 1990s, he added.

There is also a 15 per cent growth in the availability of hotel rooms in the star categories even though there is a scarcity during the peak season, he said.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated September 25, 2006)
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