Not just five-star, Kerala has most number of four-star hotels too

With such high numbers of visitors,  one  might wonder if Kerala has the necessary infrastructure to accommodate them.
For representational purpose
For representational purpose

KOCHI:  Despite its relatively small size, Kerala has been attracting a considerable number of both foreign and domestic tourists. In March 2023, the Kochi airport accounted for 3.29% of foreign tourist arrivals in India. Moreover, Kerala continues to experience a significant influx of domestic tourists.

With such high numbers of visitors,  one  might wonder if Kerala has the necessary infrastructure to accommodate them. However, data from the Nidhi portal of the Union Ministry of Tourism  reveals that Kerala boasts the highest number of hotels in every classification, including 3, 4, and 5 stars. 

“According to the data on the Nidhi  portal, Kerala has the highest number of five-star hotels, totalling 45. Besides, there are 124 four-star hotels serving alcohol and 98 four- star hotels not serving alcohol,” said Rajesh P R, a tour guide. Kerala also leads in the heritage hotel category with 21 hotels. While some claim  that the number of five-star and four-star hotels increased after the pandemic, industry sources have a  different perspective.

According to  Jose Pradeep, honorary secretary of the Kerala Travel Mart Society, this increase is not recent. “The number of five-star hotels increased after the  implementation of the new liquor policy by the Oommen Chandy government in August 2014, which restricted the issuance of bar licenses to only five- star hotels. To survive, many four-star hotels upgraded to five-star classification after renovation,” he explained.  

However, the  situation has changed. Jose noted, “The rule that allows three-star hotels to be established only at a distance of 200m from schools,  colleges, cemeteries, and other public establishments is ridiculous. In contrast, the distance requirement for four and five-star hotels is  only 50m.” Taking advantage of this rule and to attract more customers, many three-star hotels upgraded to four-stars, he added.

Regarding hotels  that identify themselves as boutique hotels, an official from the India Tourism office in Kochi stated that there is currently no official category  for such establishments. The tourism ministry only provides classifications such as heritage basic, heritage classic, and heritage grand. The  official clarified that the classifications from 1 to 5 stars and others are assigned after a thorough inspection of the application and facilities  provided by the applicant. 

The heritage classification is reserved for hotels that have buildings older than 50 years, according to the official.  Some hotels may refer to themselves as a boutique, but this is a self-designation, and they often provide customers with opportunities to shop for  ethnic artifacts within their premises, the official explained. 

However, despite the high number of five-star hotels in the state, experts in the  tourism industry have expressed scepticism about the quality of these establishments. “The classification is valid for five years, but random  inspections are not carried out as frequently as they should be,” said an industry insider who preferred to remain anonymous. 

Related Stories

No stories found.

The New Indian Express