Post the most disastrous flood of the century, Kerala has ready to welcome tourists. In the last couple of years, the destination has focused aggressively to promote the Northern part of Kerala. As a major boost to the destination, in December the new international airport in Kanur is set to be inaugurated.
Speaking about the plan Rani George, Tourism Secretary, Kerala said, “In a small state like Kerala we have three international airports; the fourth International airport is going to be inaugurated in December in Kanur. This will increase connectivity to the Northern part of Kerala. Now our focus will be to promote the Northern part of Kerala. There is a vibrant rich culture and heritage in this part of Kerala.”
In 2017, Kerala welcomed 10.91 lakh international travellers and 146 lakh domestic with a steady increase. George said, “Kerala is popular across the globe we are getting travellers from UK, USA, followed by Eurpoean countries, Middle East, Russia. For the domestic we are receiving travellers from Southern States, Maharashtra, Gujarat and some Northern states. The International arrivals have been growing every year and in 2017 our international arrivals is 10.91 lakhs. The domestic arrivals were 146 laks in 2017.”
To further change the perception of the travellers post floods, Kerala Tourism conducted a Tourism Readiness Survey. Under this survey the state identified 70 tourist destinations. The survey was conducted with various parameters to check if these destinations are tourism ready.
Speaking about the survey George said, “We all know about the floods which damaged the whole state and all the tourists. Kerala has come back and we are ready to welcome tourists. With each passing day we are bouncing back. Here in India we are having the partnership meet. We did a Tourism Readiness survey from September 5-15, 2018 across major destinations. We identified 70 major tourist destinations in Kerala. We surveyed the destinations, hotels and connectivity and other infrastructure in these destination. We found that out of these 70 destinations almost 90 per cent has become operational and all the major destinations became operational within one month. A few places in Thrissur and Palakad was not operational due to connectivity.”
Post floods Kerala also organised the 10th edition of the Kerala Travel Mart (KTM). The event witnessed major success and received participants from across the globe.
Speaking about the Mart George added, “After the floods, the first major event for us was the Kerala Travel Mart which witnessed a huge success. The 10th edition was much bigger than previous edition with 593 international buyers from 66 countries and 1090 national buyers. We also had 313 sellers. With such numbers we would have to look of a bigger venue next year. We also held pre and post mart tours for buyers and media. This activity was excellent to change the perception of everyone that Kerala is back on track.”
Also, Kerala is coming with up new attractions and products. The state is all set to organise the 4th edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale in December. This event is set to welcome a significant number of international travellers.
Speaking about the new products she added, “People know about our beaches, backwater and mountains, now we have launched new products. The 4th Kochi-Muziris Biennale is set to happen in December, which is a three months event where artist from different countries put up art installations. Large number of visitors comes to visit this event. We are also coming up with the Jatayu Earth Centre located near Trivandrum in the district of Kollam. This is a private initiative under PPP scheme; they have setup a huge bird sculpture. This attraction will also have a lot of adventure activities. They are also setting up a virtual reality museum which will be operational in November.”