Thiruvananthapuram: Giving strong indications that Kerala had swiftly overcame the ordeal of last year’s devastating floods, tourist arrivals in the State shot up by an impressive 6.82 per cent in the first quarter of 2019 as compared to the figures of corresponding period in the previous year. During January-March 2019, the total number of tourist arrivals (both domestic and foreign) was 46,12,937 as compared to 43,18,406 during the same period in 2018.
Riding piggy back on the spurt in the number of domestic tourists visiting the State, the first quarter of 2019 shows an impressive 6.82 per cent increase in tourist arrivals
The number of domestic tourists arriving in the State was 41,90,468 as against the figures of 38,77,712 during the corresponding period in 2018, registering an increase of 8.07 per cent. However, the arrival of foreign tourists suffered a dip of 4.14 per cent. The increase in domestic tourist footfalls, especially in Ernakulam, Alappuzha and Idukki — the districts that suffered the brunt of floods — is a pointer that the State’s tourism has recovered completely from January 2019 onwards.
“Last year’s floods were unprecedented in fury and devastation and it battered large swathes of the State. There was widespread apprehension that Kerala’s tourism would take a long time to recover. But we were able to allay these apprehensions by swiftly putting in place an effective action plan to win back the confidence of tourists,” said Kerala Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran.
As for the foreign tourist arrivals during January-March, the total number stood at 4,22,469 as against the figures of 4,40,694 in the corresponding period of the previous year, registering a decline of 4.14 per cent. Thiruvananthapuram and Ernakulam districts registered a downfall in foreign tourist arrivals. But the districts of Idukki, Alappuzha, Kottayam, Kannur, Kasaragod, Kollam, Kozhikode, Pathanamthitta and Thrissur recorded a decent growth in foreign tourist arrivals.
Rani George IAS, State Tourism Secretary, said the growth in domestic tourist arrivals in the first quarter of 2019 is a strong reflection of the State Government’s efforts to repair the damage in double-quick time.
Homestays to get RT Partner Approval
Homestays in Kerala will be given Responsible Tourism Mission (RT) partner approval, provided they strictly follow the vision and norms of the heritage-oriented hospitality initiative, P Bala Kiran IAS, Director, Tourism said. “The classification will be in Platinum, Gold and Silver categories,” he said
Bala Kiran said it was important for a homestay owner to create a milieu for the guests to experience local cuisine, art and life in their full essence. “The guests must feel like an integral part of the family during their stay. Apart from ensuring the guests’ safety and security, the homestay owners should encourage the guests to give their feedback without bothering about the nature of comments,” he added.
Website gets all-time high traffic
Three major campaigns launched by Kerala Tourism, including the one on blooming of Neelakurinji flower, and the Clint Memorial International Painting Competition, helped Kerala Tourism’s website – www.keralatourism.org – get an all-time high traffic in 2018-19, with the portal receiving 10,252,887 visits/sessions from 71,32,491 users.
This stood in sharp contrast to the year 2017-18 (April 1, 2017-March 31, 2018) when the website could muster only 41,02,061 sessions or visits from 31,61,986 users. Also, the traffic for the website came from 19,140 cities during 2018-19 as compared to 14,219 cities a year earlier.
Besides ‘Neelakurinji’ campaign launched during the once-in-12-year blooming of Neelakurinji flowers and the Clint Memorial International Painting Competition, the third was an innovative post-flood campaign in 20 Indian cities and 20 cities from abroad.
However, it was the Clint Memorial International Painting Competition that turned out to be the most effective of the three campaigns, which was targeted at children with the objective of taking the name ‘Kerala’ to five million homes around the world.
With more than 10 million visits, www.keralatourism.org has maintained its first position among government tourism sites in India, including the Central Government’s www.incredibleindia.org. Kerala Tourism’s portal now competes with the tourism websites of countries like Hong Kong, New Zealand, South Korea and Australia for higher ranking.