Azerbaijan new favourite spot for the travelling Malayali

Industry experts said more Keralites are travelling across the globe than people from any other state. “Tour operators are swarmed with bookings.

Published: 08th September 2022 05:53 AM  |   Last Updated: 08th September 2022 05:53 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Having checked US, Europe and Southeast Asian countries off their list of must-visit destinations, travelling Malayalis are setting their sights, and booked their tickets, to the transcontinental nation of Azerbaijan. According to tour operators, the number of Keralites travelling to Azerbaijan has seen an uptick since March-April. 

That’s not to say other destinations are no longer favoured. With several countries easing Covid-related restrictions on travelling, outbound tourism from Kerala has seen a boom, more so during the Onam season. The tour operators said in the past three weeks, the number of tourists travelling to international destinations has risen exponentially.

“Every day, an average of 8,000 to 10,000 people are departing from Kochi and other airports in Kerala to foreign locales, including premium destinations like Azerbaijan, Thailand, Bali, Dubai, Singapore, Malaysia, Turkey, US and European countries,” said a tour operator.

Industry experts said more Keralites are travelling across the globe than people from any other state. “Tour operators are swarmed with bookings. At least 500 to 1,000 people are leaving for various destinations which is something new. We had not anticipated the surge. On Thursday, my firm alone is sending around 10 groups, comprising a total of 2,000 people, to various foreign destinations,” said Benny Panikulangara of Benny’s Royal Tours Pvt Ltd. 

Tour operators making beeline for Kerala

Cost-effective airfare and tour packages are the main reasons why Keralites are travelling out of the counrty. “Airfare to Thailand is the same as that to Delhi. Also, people explored domestic destinations, including those in north India during the pandemic, when international flights were grounded. Visiting destinations like Thailand, Bali or Singapore costs the same,” said Benny.

The travelling trend among Keralites is attracting leading tour operators from other states. Outbound tour manager Rajesh P R said a leading tour operator firm from Tamil Nadu is starting its office here. “Many national players are trying to tie up with tour companies here. All this because Keralites are travelling more,” he said.

Amith Raghunath of Caucasian Travel Dreams, a destination management company based in Azerbaijan, said, “Following the pandemic, number of visitors from Kerala to the nation has shot up. There is non-stop booking. There is much to explore here – food, nightlife, entertainment, and adventure.”


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