To accelerate the growth of tourism in Kerala, the department of tourism has launched a three-year-long continuous tourist survey (CTS) from this year.
The 2017-2020 sample survey is being conducted in collaboration with M/s Datamation Consultants, selected through a transparent tender process, a press release here said. The centre will be providing financial assistance of Rs 25 lakhs, for the survey.
During 2010-13, Kerala Tourism had conducted a similar CTS and a key finding was that a foreign tourist stays an average of 18 days in Kerala, while spending Rs 81,000 on average. The Tourism department is regularly collecting month wise statistics of foreign as well as domestic tourists visiting the state, through the Statistical Investigators of Economics and Statistics Department in census method from all accommodation units in the state.
The survey is intended to study the interest of tourists, their age and demographic details, reasons for visit and nature of tours undertaken. It will not only cover tourist destinations, but also hotels, houseboats, home stays, ayurveda centers, restaurants and tour operators.
State tourism minister, Kadakampally Surendran, said through the data obtained, the growth of tourism in the state will be evaluated. "The survey will provide us an accurate picture of tourists, their likes and dislikes and help us to plan accordingly," the release quoting him said.
Kerala has been following a comprehensive tourism development plan to double the number of domestic tourist arrivals and increase foreign tourist arrivals by 50 percent, by 2021.
On the growing popularity of Kerala as a tourism destination, principal secretary (tourism), V Venu said with over one million foreign tourists and 13.1 million domestic tourist arrivals, the state has been witnessing tremendous growth in tourist traffic since the last couple of years. "Kerala has now become a trendsetter in the Indian tourism industry and we will work to ensure that tourism continues to grow," he said. According to Tourism Director, P Bala Kiran with survey reports generated periodically, Kerala Tourism will plan innovative projects, new policies, and marketing strategies.
The fact that for the last five years tourism has been contributing 7-10 percent of the state's GDP summarises the importance of tourism sector in the economy of state and livelihood of the people, he added.