Hope on the horizon for domestic tourism in Kerala; losses pegged at over Rs 33,683 crore

The tourism statistics released by the Tourism Dept presented a ray of hope for the sector as the last three months in 2020 showed a track of recovery for the domestic segment as domestic tourist.

Published: 27th February 2021 01:45 PM  |   Last Updated: 28th February 2021 10:34 AM   |  A+A-

A houseboat closed for services during the COVID related lockdown in Kollam, Kerala

A houseboat closed for services during the COVID related lockdown in Kollam, Kerala. (Photo | Ashitha Jayaprakash)

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: There was hardly anything to cheer for the travel industry in 2020 except for the first two months, the pre Covid period in the state. However, when the worst period of 2020 ends, the figures from the Tourism department hold out hope for the domestic segment in the current year.

The statistics released by the Tourism Department presented a ray of hope for the sector as the last three months in 2020 showed a track of recovery for the domestic segment -- domestic tourists started to flock to leisure destinations in the state.

April and May were the worst time for the tourism sector as almost 99.9 per cent travels came to a grinding halt, while the next couple of months registered some movements and hotel booking, thanks to the repatriation of the stranded Indians.

After the worst period, the monsoon months saw some hotel bookings after the state government instructed the repatriated NRIs who have no facility to serve mandatory isolation period, to serve paid quarantine in hotels.

But official figures tell us that the real movement of domestic tourists started in October, November and December months but the month still ended with a 75 per cent shortfall in tourist movement when comparing with the same month in 2019.

A senior research officer in the Tourism Department said “this is a major improvement in domestic tourism sector as these figures were compared with year 2019, which had witnessed record tourist arrivals in Kerala after two back to back floods and Nipah scare.”

The overall picture of tourism sector in Kerala was not rosy in the year 2020 as expected because the sector registered 72.86 and 71.36 per cent decline in both domestic and foreign tourist arrivals in the state entailing a loss of Rs 33683.73 crore for the hospitality sector.

Official figures 2020 2019 Variation
Domestic Tourist Arrival 49,88,972 1,83,84,233 -72.86
International Tourist Arrival 3,40,755 11,89,771 -71.36
Total 53,29,727 1,95,74,004 -72.77
Total Earnings Rs 11,335.96 Cr Rs 45,019.69 Cr Rs 33,683.73 Cr

The impact was lessened due to the robust growth in the first quarter of 2020 especially around January and February which saw a growth of 13.84 per cent and 8.63 per cent, respectively in domestic and foreign segments.

Post Corona, the foreign segment is almost nil as the international movement of foreign tourists is yet to begin due to the border restrictions. Further, the US and UK account for the bulk of the foreign tourists who visit the state annually and since these two countries were badly hit by Corona pandemic, it will take some time for the segment to be back on tracks, at least one more year, said officials.

B S Biju, deputy director, Tourism department, “the Kerala tourism is giving more focus to domestic tourism marketing this year as the foreign countries have not opened their borders for foreign tourists. We have already two launched two domestic campaigns as part of wooing domestic tourists to Gods Own Country,” he said.


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