THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Although foreign tourists who arrive in God’s Own Country cover almost all famous tourist destinations, including Alappuzha and Idukki, their spending pattern shows Ernakulam and Thiruvananthapuram together accounted for 76 per cent of the total forex earning in the state in 2018 and only 24 per cent was accounted by the rest of all the destinations across the 12 districts.
Kerala netted a total foreign exchange earnings (FEE) amounting to Rs 8,764.46 crore in 2018. Of this, Ernakulam constituted the highest FEE of Rs 3,902.37 crore (45 pc of total FEE of tourism sector). The total FEE from Thiruvananthapuram was Rs 2,793.97 crore (31 pc of total FEE). Together, both districts accounted for 76 per cent of the total FEE amounting to Rs 6,642.34 crore.
Alappuzha came third with Rs 763.58 crore, followed by Idukki (Rs 358.39 crore) and Kottayam (Rs 346.03 crore). Malabar altogether netted an FEE of Rs 453.57 crore with a split of Kozhikode having the highest FEE of Rs 146.99 crore followed by Malappuram (Rs 140.77 crore), Wayanad (Rs 92.79 crore), Kannur (Rs 40.07 crore) and Kasargod (Rs 32.95 crore), indicating north Kerala has a lot to go to become a major tourist hub for foreign tourists.
Among the countries, the UK constituted the highest number of foreign tourists in 2018 with 2.01 lakh of the total 10.96 lakh foreigners who visited Kerala. The US came second with 96,522 tourists followed by France (87,200) and Germany (66,194). Among the countries, West Asian nations continued their slide with Saudi Arabia leading the table with a drop of 24.51 per cent (highest in terms of number of tourists) followed by the Sultanate of Oman, the UAE, Kuwait and Bahrain.
E M Najeeb, south India regional chairman of Indian Association of Tour Operator’s (IATO), told Express there was no need to bother about the skewed spending pattern of foreigners in Kerala. Since Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram are the main gateways to Kerala, these two destinations account for the majority of the spending of foreigners. Although foreigners are interested to visit sce nic spots across the state, their main shopping and accommodation are still city-based, he said.
The industry experts are of the view the state would seriously take measures to woo back the West Asia tourists, who are one of the major revenue sources. Similarly, the Tourism Department should market destination Kerala outside its traditional markets. For instance, Chinese tourists are a major revenue source of Far East tourism destinations. But it is hard to believe whether they would know of a state like Kerala in India which is ruled by the Communists.
Kerala netted a total foreign exchange earning (FEE) amounting to Rs 8,764.46 crore in 2018. Of this, Ernakulam constituted the highest FEE of Rs 3,902.37 crore (45 pc of total FEE of tourism sector). The total FEE from Thiruvananthapuram was Rs 2,793.97 crore (31 per cent of total FEE).