The Kerala Tourism Department is taking new initiatives and expanding its horizons, not just in the southern belt but also the northern zone with new “must-visit” destinations.
The northern parts of the state like Wayanad, Kannur, Kozhikode, Thrissur, Malappuram and Palakkad are on the list of new tourism destinations.
“Kerala has seen a strong tourism sector since two decades and we have been doing well domestically and internationally. We are starting new destinations in different geographical areas. We are widening our canvas and including new destinations. The northern parts of the state will be a separate circuit which will be complementing the existing tourism circuit in south Kerala,” said P. Bala Kiran, Director, Kerala Tourism.
While the peak season for visiting the state is mainly November to February, the state tourism department is also chalking out plans to attract tourists round the year. The department has pumped in almost INR 500 crore in the area for tourism and infrastructure development.
“We are also planning out new ventures such as introducing river cruise facility in Malabar, making a Kameshwari heritage project, Jatayu Earth Centre which will feature world’s largest bird sculpture and offering a plethora of adventure and rejuvenating activities and others,” confirmed Kiran.
The department is also focusing on alluring young tourists by offering multiple adventure activities – water-based sports like river rafting and kayaking as also trekking and paragliding.
Kiran added that in the past one year, Kerala has witnessed tremendous growth in tourist arrivals – both domestic and international. “In 2017 we had 1.09 million international tourists and 14.6 million domestic tourists which is roughly translating into a growth of 11% in the last year,” he added.
Asked about the major challenges being faced by the tourism department, he pointed out that ensuring safety and security of tourists were the first priority followed by providing world-class amenities to the visitors and streamlining the waste management system.
“Kerala Government is setting up a Tourism Regulatory Authority which will be a statutory body with full legal powers to intervene and execute orders whenever there are complaints on tourist-related activities,” he said.