Exceeding the target growth mentioned in the Kerala Tourism Policy, 2017 figures revealed an increase of 15 lakh new tourists to Kerala, doubling the growth over 2016. God’s own country reported 146,73,520 domestic arrivals last year, an increase of 11.39% as compared to the previous year.
Domestic tourists mainly visited Alappuzha, Idukki, Wayanad, Thiruvananthapuram and Ernakulam districts from Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Delhi and Gujarat.
Meanwhile, foreign tourist arrivals increased by 5.15% last year over 2016 majorly to Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam and Wayanad districts. On the foreign tourist arrivals front, footfalls have increased from 10,38,419 to 10,91,870.
In terms of tourism revenue, total foreign exchange from the tourism sector increased by 8.29% to INR 8,392.11 crore compared to 2016. Total direct earnings from the sector grew to INR 26,000.33 crore from INR 23,098.15 crore, a growth of 12.56%. Kerala Tourism Department has recorded an increase of INR 3,725.12 crore in total revenue generated from the sector, at INR 33,383.68 crore compared with INR 29,658.56 crores last year.
“The total growth rate in terms of tourist arrivals in 2017 is the highest registered in the last nine years,” said Kadakampally Surendran, Minister for Tourism, Cooperation and Devaswoms, Kerala.
According to Rani George, IAS, Secretary, Kerala Tourism, “The new Tourism policy 2017 has set an ambitious target of increasing domestic tourist arrivals by 50% by 2021 and also in doubling the foreign tourists by this period. This would require a growth of around 9% every year for domestic tourists and around 15% for international tourists.”