Kerala Kaumudi Online
Sunday, 19 May 2024 7.08 PM IST

New record! Domestic tourism thriving in Kerala


Until a few years ago, it was uncommon for people in Kerala to make leisure trips outside the boundaries of their states. Nevertheless, to say, they found joy in these small sojourns. However, after the pandemic, the whole format of vacation has taken a radical recourse. Now The number of people traveling with their families to tourist centers in other districts and other states for vacation has seen a big rise. Minding the lucrative business, travel agencies are also up front offering modest packages that would fit the purpose for middle-class Keralites. Even some people in Kerala have now made it a pattern to try their luxury opting international destinations for family vacations.

People from other states visiting Kerala to enjoy the bucolic terrain have also increased proportionately. Last year, 2,18,71,641 people from other states visited our tourist destinations and this is a new record in the number of domestic tourists visiting the southern state. This increase in domestic tourism is a source of joy and pride for Kerala and brings new vibrancy and excitement to the state's tourism sector. Although Kerala has long been marked on the global tourism map, it is no trivial matter that such a large chunk of people within India have opted for Kerala as their most-sought location rather than trying other states.

Last year, Kerala recorded a 15.92 per cent increase in the number of domestic tourists compared to 2022. According to the figures, most of these tourists chose Ernakulam, Idukki, Wayanad and Thiruvananthapuram districts. This was a revelation since it was uncommon for people to visit urban centres in Kerala as they preferred the mountains, hilly region, and backwaters among others. With the new figures, it is learned that the urban centres of Kerala are also a source of attraction for people from other states.

Foreign tourists range from the rich who arrive on chartered flights and stay in star hotels to the commoners who stay in homestays and mid-range hotels in groups of four or five. Domestic tourists, on the other hand, generally stay in mid-range hotels in urban areas and take day trips to tourist destinations. Their travel chart will also include major pilgrimage centres. The tourists mostly prefer very hygienic accommodation centres with sumptuous delicacies rather than ending up in any seedy hotel.

Under the leadership of the tourism department, it is possible to think of starting budget hotels and taxi services in major tourist locations, so as to attract the surging middle-class tourists. Another is to grant certain exemptions to hotels, restaurants, and bars functioning near tourist zones. However, ensure that such concessions and special permissions are not misused and that illegal activities including the sale of intoxicants are not carried out under their guise.

Special tourist information centres, police stations, tourist guide services and free Wi-Fi centres should be established in such tourist zones, which can be started with special concessions from the government, like special economic zones. There should be an immediate solution to any problem faced by travellers. It should be remembered that domestic tourists who bring enough lucre to the government coffers are equally important as foreign tourists who bring foreign exchange.

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