THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: After a long hiatus, the foreign tourist arrival (FTA) to Kerala slumped by 4.6 per cent in the second quarter compared to the same time last year, in what should be a strong reminder to the authorities about the need to pull up their socks in the coming months. The Tourism Department statistics show the FTA had shown a skeletal growth of 3.46 per cent in the month of April. Compared to last year, it fell by 7.43 per cent in May and subsequently by 16.99 per cent in June. If Nipah outbreak and the Latvian tourist’s murder in the capital had adversely affected the sector, the deluge is expected to add to the worry, with its impact yet to be assessed.
Thiruvananthapuram (May: 27.21 per cent and June 37.92 per cent) suffered the biggest jolt, followed by Malappuram, Kozhikode and Ernakulam. On the domestic front, the tourist arrival, which registered a growth of 21.21 per cent in April fell to 19.13 per cent in May and to 5.54 per cent in June when compared to the corresponding period in the previous year.
Speaking to Express, Tourism Director P Balakiran said: “The sector is expecting another dip in the third quarter following the flood, which inflicted an infrastructure loss of Rs 100 crore on the tourism department and a revenue loss of Rs 500 crore on the industry. Following the flood, the department is working hard to retrieve its lost glory in terms of opening all its tourism destinations soon and make them accessible, he said
A senior officer said it has chalked out a set of plans to send a message to the outside world that Kerala has bounced back from the flood. As part of it, senior officers have been assigned to lead and address the tourism fairs and campaigns outside the state apart from doing promotions aggressively on social media platforms.
The tourism director will speak at the Travel & Tourism Fair - Ahmedabad on Friday to alleviate various stakeholders’ fears. On Thursday, Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran addressed another fair in Visakhapatnam, which used to be attended by officers. Meantime, the department will mend the shortcomings in various destinations like Munnar and Wayanad, where the accessibility has been a big worry after the flood and landslips, he said.