Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: The recession may be eating into the budget of the international traveller forcing the brakes on tourist arrivals to India, but Kerala claims to be bucking the trend, the State’s tourism managers said on Thursday.

Officials of Kerala Tourism held a road-show in connection with the launch of several programmes to lure domestic tourists and said foreign tourist arrivals to “God’s Own Country” had gone up by 80,000 in 2008 compared to the previous year.

During 2008, an estimated 5.99 lakh foreigners visited the State to record a 16 per cent growth for the sector upon which the economy has pinned high hopes.

Kerala’s growth rate for the tourism sector is over three times that of India’s.

According to a spokesman, Kerala Tourism will shortly tie up with a premier airline to make the destinations much more accessible for the domestic tourist.

Kerala Tourism is currently promoting its “Dream Season Holidays” packages through a series of road-shows at New Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Surat, Nagpur, Pune, Mumbai and Kolkata.

Around 40 trade partners will hold B2B meets between March 17 and July 17. Besides, Consumer Holiday Shows have also been planned at Chandigarh, Jalandhar and Ludhiana in May.