The trend, which started in the State’s Malnad areas since 2010, saw good business in 2011, and the industry is expecting to repeat or better last year’s performance.
Usually the monsoon is off-season for the tourism industry in Kodagu. However, the industry is waking up to the potential for monsoon tourism though the great Indian phenomenon is delayed. This optimism is despite a general decline in tourist arrivals.
Malnad areas are seeing a spike in visitors during this rainy season
Hoping for the best
“Though the region is yet to receive heavy rainfall, hotels have started receiving good bookings. Kodagu received a good number of youngsters from Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh last year who came only to enjoy the rain,” said K.T. Subbaiah, who owns Green Haven, a popular budget hotel in Madikeri. “We are hoping this to be a good year too.”
So much so several hotels and home stays have started buying raincoats, boots and umbrellas to supply the tourists who turn up unprepared. “We are planning to introduce these facilities from this year,” Mr. Subbaiah said.
Heavy rains usually lash Kodagu in the months of July, August and September when several waterfalls, including the popular Abbi falls, Iruppu falls and Mellahalli falls are at their glorious best.
It is not just Kodagu which attracts those chasing the monsoon. Tourism officials say Chikmagalur, Sakleshpur, Uttara Kannada, Dakshina Kannada and parts of Shimoga also attract the crowds.
However, a member of the Karnataka Tourism Forum, an umbrella organisation for travel and tour operators, said that though Karnataka has plenty of opportunities to push monsoon tourism, the department had done very little. “There is no policy in this regard. On the other hand, Goa popularises monsoon tourism with campaigns such as ‘Goa by Rain’ and Kerala does it through ‘Splash’.” If at all tourists are visiting Kodagu and other districts during the monsoon, it is only on the district’s own strength, but not through any government initiative, he pointed out.
A senior Tourism Department official acknowledged that the discussion to promote monsoon tourism is currently under way, and the action plan will be chalked out soon.