Kochi: A paradigm shift in tourism industry is quite evident. Gone are the days when tourism meant travellers visiting spots of their interest. Now, times have changed and it is new-gen tourism all the way. Earlier, tourists used to arrive during a specific period and the tourism industry was confined to that period of time. But presently, the aim is to spread the tourism season across 365 days.
The central government is giving an impetus to diversify the tourism sector with a focus on development, campaign and to find new avenues. The crux of the new tourism structure is the shift from travellers who came to visit places to people who travel only for a particular purpose.
There is great scope for cruise tourism in states such as Kerala, Goa, Maharashtra, and Tamil Nadu. The central ministry of tourism had earmarked Rs 119.55 crore in 2018-19 for the development of cruise tourism in these states. Luxurious foreign cruise ships calling on Indian ports are not something unusual. But the main intent is to be part of the global cruise circuit and attract more tourists to the country. The backwaters and river of various states, including Kerala, should be utilized to promote cruise tourism.
Most of the tourists are adrenaline junkies and love adventure sports. To tap this immense potential, states are chalking out various adventure tourism projects. Goa, which is known for its pristine beaches, has also put in place some exhilarating adventure sports activities for the tourists. Kerala with its beautiful beaches and virgin mountains has the ideal settings for adventure tourism projects. Experts opine that special projects with focus on adventure tourism projects should be implemented to make the sector more vibrant.
The number of people visiting India for medical care is on the rise. The country has better medical infrastructure to conduct knee replacement surgery, cardiac surgery, plastic surgery and provide dental treatment. Though many Asian countries are into medical tourism, India's credibility in medical care is a great asset. People from many countries, including West Asian nations, are visiting various hospitals, including those in Kerala, in the country to undergo medical treatment. A ministry of tourism report has suggested bringing out a special package by melding Ayurveda, yoga and Allopathy to provide a new experience to tourists.
Wellness tourism will be the mainstay in future as people travel to derive happiness out of it, and the projects connected with wellness tourism are a perfect blend of health and wellness. The Ayurveda centres functioning out of hotels and resorts are on the preferred list of tour operators. Riding on the rich tradition of Ayurveda, Kerala can make giant strides in wellness tourism. Many investors are coming forward to park money in wellness tourism and this can only augur well for the tourism sector.
The major countries are now treading the responsible tourism path to reduce carbon foot prints and respect nature. Now, tourism promotion involves preservation of beaches, lakes, backwaters, hills and rivers. Earlier, environment was at the receiving end in the name of tourism, but that’s changing. Presently, the need is to give a positive impact to nature through tourism activities. Efforts are on to sensitize the tour operators about the importance of sustainable and responsible tourism.