Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala has registered a 5.71 percent increase in tourist arrivals in 2016, welcoming 14.2 million visitors to the state.
Provisional figures from the tourism department show that 14,210,954 tourists came to Kerala in 2016, out of which 13,172,535 were domestic arrivals and 1,038,419 foreign visitors, an increase of 5.67 percent and 6.23 percent respectively when compared to 2015.
The month of November, a peak tourist season for Kerala, saw a significant half-percentage drop in domestic tourist arrivals following the Centre's announcement of the ban on high-value currency notes, a release from Tourism department pointed out.
An 8 per cent increase in tourist arrivals was expected in November, the decline effectively resulted in an overall decrease of 8.5 percent from the estimates.
Although the visitor numbers did increase in December, the previous month's fall affected the overall figures for the year, the release said.
"Had it not been for the demonetization, Kerala would have had a commendable increase in tourist arrivals," Tourism minister Kadakampally Surendran said.
"A setback to the tourism sector will have a significant impact on the economy. The continuous efforts by the government and private tourism partners helped Kerala Tourism withstand the demonetization crisis, he noted.
"The unique tourism products and innovative marketing strategies helped Kerala to a large extent to tide over the difficult phase," Tourism principal secretary Dr Venu V said.
The note ban, however, did not have a large-scale impact on foreign arrivals.
While the months of October and December saw increases of 8.45 percent and 8.01 percent respectively when compared to 2015, November saw a smaller increase of 6.98 percent.
The overall scenario was better compared to domestic arrivals since foreign visitors tend to book their holidays in advance, the release said.