THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Now, it is official. The Tourism Department has officially acknowledged the fact the unrest related to Sabarimala issue and the subsequent developments not only affected the pilgrim flow to the hill shrine, but the Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram and Guruvayur Sree Krishna Temple also had to bear the burnt of the unseemly hostile developments.
According to the Tourism Department statistics, even after the state registered 6.35 per cent growth in domestic tourist arrivals in 2018, Thiruvananthapuram and Thrissur - the latter being the only district in the state to register negative growth in domestic tourist arrivals in 2018 - have witnessed a flip-flop in terms of tourist arrivals in the post-flood period even after the other districts comparatively recovered from the deluge’s ripple effect.
The highest growth in the number of domestic tourists recorded in Thiruvananthapuram district. In the district, there has with an increase of about 2 lakh domestic tourists added to the previous year’s figures, is in proportion to the year-on-year growth of 6.35 per cent achieved by Kerala Tourism in the 2018 calendar year. One of the main reasons is the increased inflow of pilgrim tourists to Padmanabhaswamy temple.
“But the growth rate of domestic tourists to Thiruvananthapuram showed a negative trend from September despite the state capital remaining relatively unaffected by the flood and the decline continued upto December. The likely reason for negative trend is the unrest on account of the Sabarimala developments,” said Tourism Department authorities.
The negative growth trend was witnessed in Thrissur as well, mainly due to the drop in tourist arrival in Guruvayur from August- December. If the flood impacted the pilgrim traffic flow in August-September, the drop continued in the following months.
Thrissur registered a negative growth of 5.5 per cent in domestic tourism during 2018.The Sabarimala tourists from neighbouring states, who arrive during the Mandalam season and monthly puja timings used to visit the two famous other temples in the state before returning home.
The pilgrims arriving in the state, through the northern side or via Palakkad used to visit Guruvayur while a section of them and those who get here through the southern side, often pay a visit to the Padmanabhaswamy temple and Kanyakumari.
The tangible decline in tourist arrivals in these districts during October, November and December was mainly due to the hostile developments in the state, the officers said.