Kerala will go the Goa and Sri Lanka way if it is promoted as a mass-tourism destination.
The quality of visitors must be ensured at all costs, according to Janine Renard, a French tour operator.
Chartered flights bring in plenty of tourists who want sun, sea, sex and liquor to the two destinations. Goa is flooded with tourists from Russia, who, unlike Westerners are not interested in the regional culture.
They are mostly confined to the comfort of their hotel rooms.
They are the nouveau rich of Russia, who are not like their countrymen from the former Soviet Union who travelled to explore varied cultures, she said, on the sidelines of the Kerala Travel Mart here on Saturday.
(There were news reports of the Goa government initiating steps to prevent the proliferation of Russian and Israeli colonies along the Goa coast, following allegations of rampant drug abuse and an increase in crimes.)
The recession in Europe has resulted in this brand of new-age tourists from newer markets spoiling destinations.
Instead, State governments in India could well focus on encouraging tourists from the U.S., said Ms Renard. “The Chinese are another emerging market and most of them respect regional culture, since they have a traditional mindset,” she said.
She spoke of how locales within Europe are benefiting from travellers cancelling or postponing their tours to countries in other continents. “The recession has also resulted in tourists preferring budget destinations and smaller hotels.”
French tourists who visit southern India stay here for three weeks.
After touring temples in Tamil Nadu, they arrive in Kerala to check out its nature, people and ayurveda.