THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The domestic and foreign tourists who visit Kerala seemingly are more interested in exploring the natural treasures of Idukki, dotted with mountains, forests, waterfalls and wildlife.
Statistics of tourist inflow into the state in the first three months of the current calendar year reveals Idukki is leading the table, in terms of robust growth and number of visiting tourists compared to previous years.
On the domestic front, Idukki registered the highest growth rate of 38.89 per cent compared to the previous year with 2,48,052 tourists visiting the district in the first three months this year against the 1,78,596 recorded during the same period last year. Alappuzha came second, registering a 37.28 per cent growth.
Regarding foreign tourists, Idukki registered 60.91 per cent growth during the period against Alappuzha (34.19). However, the latter handled more foreigners as its backwaters have been a major attraction in the last couple of decades.
Another striking aspect was the loss of Thiruvananthapuram’s position as a major destination of foreign tourists. The district registered a negative growth (-4.51) with tourist footfall declining to 1,36,547 from 1,43,003 recorded during the same period last year. According to a senior Tourism Department officer, the decline in the field of medical tourism and Kovalam’s loss of charm have led to it.
The Tourism Department fears the growth in the second quarter will be either negative or negligible as it witnessed the controversial murder of Latvian woman and the outbreak of Nipah virus in the state.The first three months’ statistics give the tourism industry reasons to cheer as the foreign and domestic tourist arrival registered a growth of 12.13 per cent and 18.57 per cent respectively in the state, according to Tourism Director P Bala Kiran. Kochi continued to host the most number of tourists, while Malabar region has also made some strides on the domestic tourism front.