Malabar now beckons tourists to God's own country

Shifting the focus away from the scenic backwaters, 'God's own country' Kerala wants to draw tourists to the historic Malabar region. 

Being the only state to have four international airports — the latest in Kannur —  the state is on a massive effort to showcase stories about the "lost world", the land where the Yavanas first arrived in search of spice. 

The state's northern region is also famous for forts, excavations, battlegrounds and its cuisine. Its traditions are lesser known than the central and southern Travancore. 

Now though, the new airport will not only increase tourist footfall to Malabar but will also bring them to southern Karnataka. In fact, it will make the region, which borders Kodagu, Coimbatore and Mysuru, as the new gateway to south India. 

Bouncing back from the deluge in August, Kerala has been witnessing considerable footfall in the last two months. 

"Tourist inflow, both from home and abroad, had dried up after the floods. Most tourist destinations remained empty since airports were shut down. We incurred a considerable loss," Kerala Tourism Department’s Deputy Director (Marketing) Anil V S told a meeting of stakeholders in Karnataka on Tuesday. 

The official said his department came up with new strategies to revive the industry in Kerala and the efforts are bearing fruits in the last two months. 

Kerala tourism officials said 10,02,062 people from Karnataka visited Kerala in 2018, an improvement from the 9,33,911 visitors in 2017 notwithstanding the floods. Anil also pointed out that Karnataka stands second in sending most number of tourists to Kerala after Tamil Nadu. 

The department officials held a partnership meeting with about 200 stakeholders in Karnataka and discussed their future business deals. 

Officials said Kannur was gearing up to be a hot tourist destination in the coming days. 

The Kerala Tourism Department began this year with a series of events to lure visitors. The fifth edition of popular Kochi Muziris Biennale is underway in the city and will run till March 29. 

Tourists can visit the world's biggest bird sculpture in South Kerala, besides the country's first biodiversity museum on the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram.

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Malabar now beckons tourists to God's own country

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