Foreign exchange earnings by tourism industry go up by 21.63%

Kerala Tourism was able to attract 1.08 crore domestic tourists and 8.5 lakh foreign tourists to the State in 2013 when the tourism and hospitality industry witnessed a slowdown globally.

A shift in promotional strategy, tapping of new markets abroad, use of social media, and cooperation of tour operators and other stakeholders in the industry helped the State retain the top position and increase tourist arrivals last year.

Foreign tourist arrivals went up from 7,94,696 in 2012 to 8,58,143 during the 12-month period from January 2013 registering an increase of 8.12 per cent. The domestic tourist arrivals also registered a 7.75 per cent variation with the arrivals going up from 1,00,76,854 in 2012 to 1,08,57,811 last year.

Crucial factors

“The depreciation of the rupee and tapping of new markets such as the Middle East, Australia, and the United States have paid rich dividends.

The travel industry helped us penetrate these new markets, to overcome the slowdown, and retain the top position as a destination of all seasons,” Secretary, Tourism, Suman Billa, told The Hindu.

Kerala Tourism’s aggressive campaigns on Ayurveda and backwaters, among others, the shift of focus to tier II and III cities in the domestic sector, and the proper use of social media and IT-enabled products for marketing Kerala, also contributed to the success, he said.

The total revenue, both direct and indirect, from the tourism sector touched Rs.22,926.55 crore compared to Rs.21,125 crore in 2012. The 12.22 per cent increase shows the contribution of tourism to the State. Foreign exchange earnings received by the tourism industry in the State went up from Rs.4,571.69 crore in 2012 to Rs.5,560.77 crore in 2013. “The 21.63 percentage increase reflects how well the travel trade in the State has done in the international market,” Mr. Billa said.

How districts fared

Ernakulam district remains on top of the table in tourist arrivals with 3,52,314 arrivals in 2013, followed by Thiruvananthapuram with 2,68,444 arrivals. Idukki district with 68,880 arrivals came third.

Pathanamthitta continues to attract the least number of foreign tourists with only 1,255 arrivals recorded in the district last year. During the period, Palakkad attracted 1,874 foreign tourists and Kasaragod, 2,344.

The number of foreign tourist arrivals was the highest in February (1,15,403) followed by January (1,13,627) and 1,01,909 in December. The least – 29,758 – was in June last year.

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