The Kerala government will showcase more than 100 unexplored places in village areas as tourist destinations with the help of local self-governing bodies.
”The focus will no longer be confined to beaches, backwaters and hill stations. We now want to transform the whole Kerala into an interconnected tourist haven where visitors get plenty of choices and diverse experiences,” Kerala Tourism Minister Mohamed Riyas said here on Tuesday.
The tourism department of Kerala will take local self-governing institutions like panchayats as key partners under this initiative.
The government is preparing to introduce more than 100 ‘unexplored destinations’ in rural parts of the state to turn them into travel havens under its ‘destination challenge initiative’.
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Besides, the concept of caravan for tourism with ‘Keravan Kerala’ has been introduced.
”We are selecting 100 and more destinations in village areas of Kerala, which are unexplored, with the help of local self-governing bodies,” Sreekumar S, Tourist Information Officer, said.
The destinations include Kumarakom, Maravanthuruthu and Vaikom.
The idea is to provide tourists a village life experience through the responsible tourism initiative that will also benefit the local communities concerned. The initiative had won the global award at World Travel Market in London last year.
”Caravan tourism (Keravan Kerala) is a destination developing project. It will allow tourists to go to unexplored areas which do not have hotels and resources. Tourists can stay safely there with the help of local bodies who are arranging the safety and security there,” Sreekumar said.
The state’s tourism sector, also a key revenue generator, was significantly hit by the coronavirus pandemic and recovered in 2022 as there was a multi-fold jump in tourist footfalls.
”We saw great response from tourists both domestic and international… 3.18 crore domestic guests visited the state in 2022,” Sreekumar said.
According to the state tourism department, the number of incoming domestic tourists swelled 600 per cent and the number for international tourists jumped 200 per cent in 2022.
”This is well above India’s average level. As a result of this, the GDP has also increased 12.07 per cent,” he added.