The tourism industry has picked up in Thekkady with the arrival of more number of inland tourists especially from North India and Tamil Nadu. Though the accurate number of visitors in this season is available only at the end of the tourist season, official sources say that there was not much decline in the number of visitors as compared to the last season.

There was a decline in the number of tourists from some countries which were badly affected by the global economic crisis and the tour packages arranged by companies for its employees have considerably fallen, as per the data available with travel agencies. ``This was not confined to Thekkady alone but other tourism destinations in the country too,'' said Sabu Joseph, manager of a travel agency at Kumily. He said that the suspension of boat services in the wake of the boat tragedy on September 30 last year had made an economic slow down in Kumily and it is slowly recovering from that.

Rony James, manager of an Internet cafe in Kumily which mostly cater to the tourists, said that there was an increase in the arrival of tourists including those from abroad. ``With the hot climate season experiencing in low range areas, more visitors from the State are expected '' he said. However, such visitors usually return on the same day and arrive mostly on vacation time and holidays, he said. For the past three days, Thekkady witnessed high tourist turnout during this season.

At present, only four boats are conducting services in the Thekkady Lake after getting the fitness certificates. These boats return just near Marakkanam where the KTDC owned boat had sunk. The reduction in the number of seats and the number of boats are creating rush during holidays and peak hours.

The two more boats owned by the Forest Department in Thekkady Vanamala and Vanalakshmi are getting ready to be relaunched again after completing the repair works. The repair works as recommended by the Chief Inspector of Boats are being done by Steel Industries Limited, Kerala (SILK) and it is in the final stages of completion, said an official.

The water-level in Mullaperiyar dam has considerably declined to reach 112 feet, even at the reduced level of consumption by Tamil Nadu. If the water level further subsides, the present boat landing station will be shifted to nearly half-a-kilometre away from the present station.

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