Many tourists prefer the monsoon season as well

The post boat-tragedy period has shown a decline in the number of tourists, both foreign and domestic, visiting Thekkady while the overall trend in Idukki district was more or less the same in the last tourist season compared to the previous one.

While the records show a 10 to 15 percent decline in the tourist arrivals in Thekkady from October last year to May this year, almost an equal increase was recorded in the tourist arrivals in Munnar during the season. During January-February, the main tourist season in the district, the decline in tourist arrivals in Thekkady in comparison to the previous year was very much evident, as per the official figures.

According to District Tourism Promotion Council secretary M. Rajesh, an overall shift in the tourist arrival pattern was seen with fluctuations in the monthly figures even as the tourist arrivals to Munnar showed an increase last season compared to the previous season.

He said that the world economic slow down has not affected the tourist arrivals in the district much as the numbers showed a slow but steady increase. Different marketing packages had been drawn for tourists from European countries and the Southeast nations who arrive at different periods during the year, including the monsoon season.

Tourist arrivals during the initial weeks of this monsoon season were enthusiastic, he said. Tourists from countries like Sudan and Cyprus mostly arrive during the monsoon season and their favourite destination is Munnar with hotels and homestays drawing up special packages at reduced rates.

During January, 2009, as many as 8,360 foreign tourists visited Thekkady, while the number has fallen to 5,915 during January this year. In February, the total figures were 7,629 and 6,859 respectively. During the two months, the arrival of domestic tourists showed a 25 to 35 percent decline in Thekkady.

As many as 2,974 foreigners visited Munnar in January this year; the previous year's figure was 2,766. In February this year, 2,865 foreigners visited Munnar while 2,200 foreign tourists visited the destination during the same period in the previous season. The arrival of domestic tourists also showed an increase of 10 and 11 percents during January and February respectively from the previous year.

Also, the initial weeks of this Monsoon season saw an increase in the number of domestic tourists visiting Munnar. Holidays and postponed trip during the prime season are the reasons for the spurt in tourist arrival during the monsoon season. Off-beat travellers also prefer the season as it is economic and the tourist centres are less crowded. Those who seek to experience the rainy season also choose this period. Convenience, not season, seems to be behind this new trend in the tourism sector, Mr. Rajesh said.