KOCHI: Ernakulam district has topped the number of tourist arrivals in Kerala with almost 10 percent growth in the number of foreign tourist footfall in 2017. The data provided by Kerala Tourism reveals that more than 37 lakh tourists came to Ernakulam last year.
As per the data, as many as 37,39,061 tourists arrived in Kochi in 2017. The number of foreign tourists was 4,53, 973 and domestic was 32,85,088. Last year, 4,07,653 and close to 10 percent growth was recorded in the year 2017. Around 42 percent of the foreign tourist who arrived in Kerala visited Ernakulam district last year.
After Ernakulam, highest tourist visit was recorded in Thiruvananthapuram, the state capital, with 29,26,052- 4,20,718 foreign and 25,05,333 domestic tourist in number. In total 10,91,870 foreign tourists and 1,46,73,520 domestic tourists came to Kerala. Both Ernakulam and Thiruvananthapuram comprise more than 90 percent of foreign tourist arrivals in Kerala. The total revenue generated from tourism was Rs 33383.68 crores in which 8392.11 crores received through foreign exchange earning alone.
“Even though we have achieved growth in the number of tourist arrivals last year, we have set very high target by which the number of footfalls has to be doubled in the coming year. We have to reach the double figure of current arrival by the year 2022. The government is carrying out several campaigns to attract both foreign and domestic tourists to Kerala,” K P Nandakumar, Joint Director, Tourism Department in charge of Ernakulam District said.
The Blog Express
The Tourism Department has high expectation from The Blog Express which concluded recently. Around 30 bloggers from foreign countries travelled across Kerala for two weeks “We expect them to write about Kerala in their Kerala. This will be a window for the foreigners to know about Kerala and plan trip to the state,” Nandakumar said.
However, people directly involved in tourism industry claimed that government has to come out with a favourable policy so that a sustainable tourism growth take place in Kerala. Kerala Homestays and Tourism Society (Kerala HATS) director M P Sivadattan said most of the foreign tourist arriving in Kochi prefer to stay in homestays but the government is yet to ease law so that homestays can get a classification.
“Even though there are more than 7000 homestays in Kerala, hardly 250 homestays have tourism classification. Since local self-government body wants homestays to be registered as a commercial establishment, the majority of the homestays are staying away for getting the classification. We have been requesting the government to take necessary steps to ease the norms for past two years. The issue can be solved through a joint decision of Local self-governing department and tourism department,” he said.
More than 37 lakh tourists - 4,53, 973 foreign and 32,85,088 domestic - came to Ernakulam last year