Kerala

Local destinations set to drive tourism long term

Munnar wears a deserted look after the second wave of COVID-19 and a lockdown in the State from May 8.  

With a slump in international travel apprehended following the pandemic outbreak, lesser-known local destinations are expected to drive the tourism sector.

The trend was witnessed when the tourism sector was re-opened after the first wave of COVID-19, wherein lesser-known tourist spots received a large number of visitors compared to the main destinations.

Tourism stakeholders say a sign of the shift was seen nearly a decade back with group visitors from abroad also preferring them.

“The crowded tourism spots are no longer preferred by international and domestic tourists. They prefer countryside, hill destinations, and rural landscape,” says Rajeshkumar, consultant with a tourism agency having its office in Munnar. The sector in the district is on a downward slide since the 2018 floods, he says.

District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC) secretary Gireesh P.S. says it may take a long time to restore the normal arrival of international tourists. Like domestic tourists, they will be avoiding crowded centres in the post-COVID period. Domestic and international tourists prefer farm tourism and hill destinations instead of adventure tourism or entertainment programmes.

Mr. Gireesh says lesser-known tourism destinations which recently gained prominence are Aruvikkuzhy, Panchalimedu, and the Ripples waterfalls at Sree Narayanapuram. These destinations received more tourists when they were thrown open after the first wave of the pandemic.

He says this trend was witnessed for nearly a decade as Wagamon and Ramakkalmedu emerged as main tourism destinations after Munnar and Thekkady. Entertainment activities are not available at lesser-known destinations though an ambience for a peaceful leisure time is there. Visitors may prefer places having a large area and with less crowds.

Now, 12 destinations under the DTPC are remaining closed in the district in the wake of the second wave of the pandemic.

According to officials, 2,47,392 tourists visited the destinations in Idukki in 2019. A total of 1,41,396 tourists came to the district during the post-lockdown period last year.

“There is an uncertainty over the opening of tourism centres in the present situation. After the lockdown last year, resorts and hotels were opened and maintenance works were done. Now we are quite anxious. We are waiting for the pandemic to subside for the situation to ease out,” says a manager of a resort in Munnar.


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Printable version | Jun 19, 2021 1:55:35 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/local-destinations-set-to-drive-tourism-long-term/article34536604.ece

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