THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Not long ago, Kovalam and its beaches were a top draw of international and domestic tourists who visited the state. That was till sea erosion ravaged the destination and whatever little amenities there were went into ruins. Now, Kerala Tourism is planning to rebrand the famed destination by scaling up the facilities and offering different experiences to tourists.
The department aims to bring in more features, including adventure sports and responsible tourism elements. Tourism department officials feel Kovalam has reached the stagnation point. The destination has been witnessing a reduced tourist footfall, and the pandemic literally hammered the final nail in its coffin. The spot is now struggling to stay afloat in the global tourism circuit.
The department plans to relaunch the destination to lure long-staying visitors to Kerala, improve the local economy and regain Kovalam’s lost sheen. It has roped in Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB) for preparing a detailed project report for the spot’s comprehensive rebranding.
“We are confident that Kovalam will bounce back strongly in the tourism circuit. The exploration period is over for Kovalam and it has hit the stagnation point. We need to re-energise the spot to provide best experiences for tourists,” said a senior official with the tourism department.“We have discussed the plans with other stakeholders, including the city corporation. The idea is to give a heritage touch to the destination by developing town planning models, improve tourist amenities and facilities for adventure water sports,” the official said.
Proper pathways, waste management, shifting of cables to underground ducts, setting up changing rooms, introducing hybrid lighting and organising local trades are some of the features planned as part of the project.
Village visits for tourists to experience local flavour
According to officials, KIIFB will come up with the DPR by July and the plan is to complete the implementation of the project within a year. To attract more international tourists to Kovalam, the department is planning to introduce experiential tourism for the visitors as part of the Responsible Tourism initiative. The aim is to make tourism activities more sustainable by promoting local involvement.
“Travellers are giving importance to sustainable tourism. We have identified a couple of villages in the 10 to 15km-radius of Kovalam so that tourists arriving the destination stay longer here,” said Responsible Tourism state coordinator Rupesh Kumar. “The tourists will get the opportunity to carry out house visits in these villages and experience coir making, weaving activities, local cuisines and farming activities. We will offer them new learning experiences also. They can learn kalari, cooking, farming and so on,” said Rupesh. The tourism department is also planning to introduce new circuits linking Kovalam with Madavoorpara and Santhigiri Ashram.