Houseboats, backwaters becoming ‘USP’ of Kerala’s tourism industry
The popularity of houseboats has returned as major tourist attractions in the state. Many find these beautiful flotels as an ideal means of exploring the beauty of the Kerala backwaters.
The number of houseboats in the Alleppey and Kottayam backwaters has increased drastically. In Alleppey alone it has increased from just 150 odd one to more than 350 in two to three years.
Houseboats or Kettu-vallams, which were once used in Kerala waterways for transporting goods from once place to another famous as rice boats, have now changed as the most wanted tourist attraction not only for domestic tourists but also for the foreigners who never miss a chance to take a 24-hour timeout in the backwaters of Kerala.
With these years tourist season remaining there from November till March, the houseboat operators and travel agents are well prepared and are looking forward for a good volume of tourists from various countries to book their houseboats and hope it will be much more than the last year.
Kerala tourism is aiming at a 20 percent increase in foreign tourist arrivals this season, while in the domestic tourists, an increase by five percent are expected this season.
Tourism that has emerged as a major sector in the State provides employment to over one million people in Kerala, which is the fastest growing tourist destination in the world. The World Travel and Tourism Council has predicted 11.6 pc growth rate for Kerala’s tourism sector by 2013.
The tourism sector here hopes to get Rs. 100000 million revenue while investments to the tune of Rs. 10000 million are also expected in this sector.
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