Economy & PolicyKerala eyes 100 per cent rise in overseas tourist inflow
George Joseph / Chennai/ Kochi February 23, 2006
With the tourism season in full swing, the Kerala tourism department expects more than 100 per cent increase in the inflow of tourists from abroad.
According to a statement made by K C Venugopal, minister for tourism, in the Assembly, the government expects 8 lakh foreign tourists in the current season.
During the last season 3.43 lakh foreign tourists visited Kerala and the number had been dropped considerably due to tsunami disaster on December 26, 2004.
During last season domestic tourists inflow was 59.5 lakh and a considerable increase is expected this time according to the present trend in the domestic tourists inflow.
According to the state’s recent budget, there would be an overall growth of 11.6 percent in the tourism sector in the current fiscal and the Rs 21.71 crore budget earmarked for the development of tourism is the second largest contributor to state’s GDP.
Venugopal said that a major chunk of the foreign tourists was coming to the state in order to have treatment in Ayurveda and government had declared this year as the year of medical tourism.
He informed the house that the state’s exchequer would have an income of Rs 19,600 on an average when a foreign tourist spends one week in Kerala. The tourism department had estimated that a foreign traveller spends Rs 2,800 on an average on a daily basis while he visits the God’s own country.
The government had initiated a long-term growth strategy for the development of tourist centres and it gives prime importance to infrastructure development.
During the current year, the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation will spend Rs 14.5 crore for the development of various tourist centres and the government encourages private participation in the development of tourism centres.
As the season is in full swing, most of the Kerala hotels especially in the star category are fully booked for the next few weeks. The season will be in full swing till the end of March and the department had taken initiative to market the off-season, monsoon period, too as a period of ayurveda treatment and health rejuvenation.
Meanwhile a major chunk of foreign tourists are complaining about the hike in room rent of hotels especially in three star above. Kerala has a total number of 6,500 rooms including classified hotels and it is very difficult to get accommodation during prime season.
In the beginning of the current season hotels had increased the rate by 15 –35 percent and it is too high for an average tourist.
In Sri Lanka the average room rent is $ 35 daily while this is around $ 150 in Kerala and hence Kerala now has the disadvantage of very expensive tourists destination in the South Asian countries like Sri Lanka and Malaysia.
Thiruvananthapuram | February 21, 2006 3:42:06 PM IST
Kerala Tourism Minister K C Venugopal today informed the state Assembly that 7.7% of the Kerala’s total domestic production (GDP) during 2003 was from the Tourism sector.
In a written reply, he said a study by the International Travel and Tourism Council (ITTC) had revealed that the share from the sector would increase to 10.2% by 2013.
He said the study also indicated that the sector would be one of the major job providers in the state as it would create 2,221,370 employment opportunites by 2013. The government had provided jobs to 788,600 people through this sector, he added.
With the ”vazhiyoram projects” the government was expecting to mobilise Rs 50 crore as private investment in the sector. The government had already selected 121 investors from the proposed 250 such projects.
Though the government had issued strict directions to the investors that a minimum of five people should be provided jobs in each centres, it was expected that a minimum of 20 people would get jobs in each centres, he added.”
Covered in oil and naked save for a loincloth: “When we saw that the services of the ayurvedic masseur had been advertised not as ‘therapist’ but ‘The rapist’, we should have known better.
But it was not until I was lying spreadeagled on a hard wooden table, covered in oil and naked except for a flimsy cotton loincloth, that I began to have second thoughts.
Another amusing tale from Rosemary Behan of the London Daily Telegraph
Rice and easy
Snake bites, sickness, sun stroke – you’d have to be mad to take a family to India, wouldn’t you? Not if you go to Kerala, says Jon Stock.”
great article from London Daily Telegraph on why taking the children to Kerala is so much fun and such fun. Did you know that Keralites call children “green chillies”.