Lean tourism in Kerala linked to weak monsoon

Lean tourism in Kerala linked to weak monsoon

Lean tourism in Kerala linked to weak monsoon

The romance of a green, rain-drenched Kerala is one of the unique selling propositions of Kerala Tourism — the state’s agency that promotes tourism activities.

However, weak rainfall has delayed the cheer of industry players who offer rejuvenation packages designed exclusively for the monsoon season.

The Malayalam month of Karkitakam (starting July 17 this year) is considered the peak season for Ayurvedic treatment and tour operators who link their services to rejuvenation packages with special dietary plans said the interest this year is still building and a delayed monsoon could be one of the reasons.

“Most enquiries related to rejuvenation packages reach us during the first half of June. This year, we’ve had none,” said a manager at Kerala Holidays, a Kochi-based tour operating company. Managers at some of the properties in Alappuzha that offer Ayurvedic treatment said few enquiries have started pouring in.

Over the past five years, Kerala has been aggressively promoting packages during the months of June and July – the leanest season in its tourism calendar — in an effort to reverse the season’s lull.

In 2013, June had clocked 29,758 foreign and 744,703 domestic tourist footfalls in the state, a jump of five and seven per cent respectively on figures from the previous year.

Kerala Tourism officials said it was still early to link moderate rainfall to tourist arrivals in the state. “These are early days; the monsoon season is on till September end. The idea is to promote these four months as a dream season with the best of Ayurvedic packages.

Treatment offered at the properties is not going to be affected, irrespective of the tourist’s location – be it beaches, backwaters or hill stations,” Raghudasan M, additional director of Kerala Tourism, told Deccan Herald.

The southwest monsoon that hit Kerala coast on June 6 has remained weak over the past couple of days. The state has till Friday received 433.1 mm rainfall, 24 per cent less than normal rainfall for the period.

Wayanad, a destination celebrated for its wildlife and adventure trails, has had a June markedly quieter than in previous years, according to some of the property managers.

They said Arabs who are regular visitors to Kerala during the monsoon months were no longer considered “repeat clients”.

“NRI travellers who attach rains to a sense of homecoming and are comfortable with such weather are our major clients during these months, apart from honeymooners who are here to catch Wayanad at its best and groups who come in to utilise the reduced rates.

Business is normally low during June; this year, it has been worse,” Abhilash K, General Manager of Rain Country Resorts in Wayanad, said.

Ajit Panikkar, HR Manager at Kumarakom Lake Resort, said on an average, the property recorded a 50 per cent occupancy during the months of June and July.

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