Thiruvananthapuram: The number of domestic and foreign tourist arrivals to Kerala showed a healthy increase, coupled with a record revenue earning, in 2018, in a clear demonstration that the tourism sector has rebounded quickly after the devastating August floods.
Kerala netted a record revenue of Rs 36,528.01 crore from the tourism sector last year, clocking an increase of Rs 2,874.33 crore.
Over 16.7 million tourists visited Kerala in 2018 as against 15.76 million the previous year, recording an increase of 5.93 per cent. Of the total footfalls, 1.09 million were foreign tourists, who visited the state that has been rated as one of world’s must-see destinations by international media and bestowed with coveted honours by premier tourism fairs across the globe.
The share of revenue from foreign visitors touched Rs 8,764.46 crore, during the period that also saw a spurt in arrival of domestic tourists as well.
Domestic tourism sector also gained during the period with visitors exceeding 15.6 million, showing an increase of 6.35 per cent.
Significantly, in the first quarter of the year up to March 31, tourist arrival to the state recorded an impressive 12.3 per cent growth in the case of foreign visitors and 20 per cent in the case of domestic tourists. The Nipah outbreak in May in some parts of the state and the crippling floods in August led to a fall in arrivals. This trend, however, was quickly reversed by the determined actions of the state government and Tourism Department, putting back the sector firmly on the growth trajectory.
“It is significant that the number of tourists who visited Kerala almost touched half the state’s total population. This impressive growth has been achieved against adverse factors such as the century’s severest deluge,” said Kadakampally Surendran, Minister for Tourism.
The UK accounted for the largest number of foreign visitors of over 200,000, followed by the United States, France, Germany and Saudi Arabia. The number of visitors from other European countries like Sweden and Italy also increased during the period.
“It was through hard work and determination of the Tourism Department, tourism trade and the coordinated efforts of other government departments that the state had been able to achieve this impressive growth,” said Rani George, Secretary, Tourism. The campaign mounted through the media, including social media platforms, also played a vital role in this success story, she noted.
Tourism Director P Bala Kiran said the tourist arrivals in the state last year had been both inspiring and impressive. “We are sure the state will be able to achieve better results this year on the strength of attractive products and new projects conceived and implemented by the government.”