Kochi: The Kerala Tourism sector, that suffered a setback due to the last year's massive floods, is on the path of revival.
All tourism centres reported heavy booking till February. No rooms are available for the Christmas-New Year season in the state. This is in stark contrast with last year, when most of the rooms remained vacant during the same period. Not just star hotels and resorts, the budget hotel rooms too have been taken. All hotels of the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC) also have been booked in advance.
Not just foreigners, domestic tourists from the neighbouring states and metro cities such as Mumbai are making a beeline to God's own state. It is even difficult to reach Munnar, a popular destination in Idukki district.
Flight tickets to Kerala, too, have been booked in advance. And the air fares have doubled.
Tourism director Dr A Bala Kiran said that a 15 per cent growth rate was estimated for the current tourism sector compared to last year.
The Kerala Tourism was able to change the dismal image it had in the aftermath of the massive floods that caused widespread destruction in the state in August 2018. The officials actively campaigned against this and circulated videos, promoting tourism in the state. These video ads were even shown on foreign flights prior to the start of movies. Tourists said that they were attracted by these videos.
Star hotels and resorts benefited the most from this initiative.
A good number of the foreign tourists to Kerala is from Britain. British tourists, who had abandoned their trips due to the uncertainty created by the Brexit in UK, renewed the travel plans after the crisis abated.
The number of tourists from other European countries such as France, Germany, and Switzerland also increased.
Domestic travellers like to go on road trips to Kerala from other Indian cities such as Bengaluru, Coimbatore and Tiruchirappalli. This, however, points to the need for better roads in the state. Most of the travellers from Bengaluru head to Wayanad.
The raging protests in Hong Kong, a sought-after destination, also worked in favour of Kerala as tourists skipped the strife-torn region.