KOCHI: With the onset of Ramzan, monsoon tourism has got off to a slow start, as Arabs, the mainstay during the last couple of years are yet to visit the state. A two-month window still open, tour operators are keeping their fingers crossed hoping arrivals from the Middle East will supplement North Indian footfalls in the third week of July. Though the new trend of Arabs visiting Kerala was the hope of the industry during monsoon, the initial days didn’t hold out much hope either as North Indians too arrived only in small numbers.
Letsgotravel.in, a travel agency, partner Mithun R Chand said that last year Arabs preferred to extend their stay and book rooms upto three weeks or a month. Big hotels, cottages and villas benefited the most during monsoon at Munnar. “This year the arrival of Arabs is yet to be confirmed. As the Ramzan month started on June 18 this year, there will be limited bookings this season and that too if the rain continues,” Mithun said.
From June to August, Ernakulam topped the table with 16,847, 17,988 and 28,416 foreign tourist arrivals. Last year, there was an increase of 7.6 per cent in the total tourist arrival in Kerala which also earned 5.07 per cent more foreign exchange. Wayanad Tourism Organisation general secretary K Ravindran says the tourist flow to Wayanad has been very poor. Though there are no bookings of Arabs this season, poor connectivity from Mysore and Karipur too has added to the woes of tourists from Karnataka and abroad.
“A meet of 400 tour operators was held at Wayanad recently to attract more people to this hilly area. During the initial days only 40 per cent occupancy during the monsoon and more is expected in the coming weeks,” Ravindran said.
Diversion of wide-bodied (code E type) aircraft from Karipur due to recarpeting works of runway and closure of Mysore-Wayanad at night too have affected the movement of tourists. Frequent power cuts, water shortage and deficient rains have also badly affected the industry, he added.