Kerala Tourism is targeting a healthy 10-12 per cent growth in both arrivals as well as in earnings in the year to March 2020 as the State has returned to normalcy after the worst deluge in a century had ravaged the State last year, a senior official has said.

Despite the killer floods, the State had recorded a 6 per cent increase in both footfalls and revenue in 2018.

It can be noted that tourism was one of the worst affected business sectors of the State’s economy that was impacted by the deluge that ravaged the State in August-September 2018.

The tourism hot-spot Kochi and the surrounding areas and the Alappuzha, known for its boat-houses and backwaters, bore the brunt of the floods bringing the industry to a complete standstill.

Apart from remittances, tourism is the mainstay of the Kerala economy with 12 per cent of the State GDP is contributed by this.

Worst floods

“After the worst floods last year, tourism has recovered fully from January 2019. We saw 8.07 per cent growth in arrivals in the first quarter at 41,90,468 against 38,77,712 during the same period last year. Looking at the trends we expect 10-12 per cent growth in arrivals as well as in earnings this fiscal year,” Kerala Tourism information officer Suraj PK told PTI .

Despite the floods, Kerala closed 2018 with total footfalls of 16.7 million, up 6 per cent over 2017 while the earnings were over ₹36,520 crore, up from ₹28,740 crore, he added.

In 2017, the footfalls were 15.67 million, recording an increase of 5.93 per cent. Of the total footfalls, 1.09 million were foreign tourists. The share of revenue from foreign visitors touched ₹8,764.46 crore.

Domestic tourist arrivals

Domestic tourism sector also gained during the period with visitors exceeding 15.6 million, showing an increase of 6.35 per cent, according to the numbers shared by the department.

Buoyed by a healthy surge in domestic tourist arrivals, Kerala Tourism is all set to kick-start a new aggressive marketing campaign with a string of partnership meets across 10 cities, showcasing a combination of the State’s traditional art forms and its attractive products of touristy appeal.

Kerala is keen to figure prominently in the meetings, incentives, conferences, and events (MICE) tourism destinations as well, Suraj said.