Two districts get most of Kerala tourism pie

According to tourism authorities, Ernakulam accounted for  43 per cent of tourist arrivals in 2009 followed by 32 per cent recorded by the state capital. Alappuzha, with its famed houseboats, fell a distant third accounting for just six per cent of the total share.

All this despite the fact that the entire length of Kerala offers a unique combinations of beaches, backwaters, distinct culture, tradition, ethnic lifestyles, traditional arts and crafts.

The government-owned Tourist Resorts Kerala Limited  has now devised a comprehensive action plan to set right this skewed focus.

The stress is on a bottoms-up approach involving local communities and on creating linkages with various sectors.

As part of this effort, the tourism resources of potential destinations will be mapped and developed. The peculiar culture, lifestyles, heritage and traditional industries of these chosen localities will be developed into unique tourism products. “This will help accelerate comprehensive development of the industry and percolate its benefits to the grassroots, ensuring steady income and employment to the local communities,” says T K Manzoor, managing director of TRKL.

The pilot project is being implemented in Bekal-Valiyaparamba region in Kasargod district, Meenkunnu beach and Thalassery region in Kannur, Kumarakom and Aimanam in Kottayam, and Aranmula and Konni in Pathanamthitta.

Continuous innovation has been the mantra which powered Kerala Tourism all these years and kept the interest alive. Be it the houseboats, Ayurveda, eco-tourism, Dream Season, Wake up to Malabar, Utsavam or Grand Kerala Shopping Festival, all were independent initiatives that made the state a much sought-after destination.

However, the fact that the benefits of these ideas had not been equitably distributed points to a deep malady that may create social imbalances. In all, 5.57 lakh foreign tourists arrived in Kerala in the year 2009 as against the 79.13 lakh domestic tourists, who visited the state during the period.

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