Kerala Records Significant Rise of 10.94% in Tourist Arrivals in Year 2017

Thiruvananthapuram: The year 2017 recorded the highest number of tourism arrivals in the past nine-year period, with a 10.94 percent rise compared with the figures of last year. An increase of 15.54 lakh new tourists - domestic and foreign travelers combined - was recorded this year, with footfalls going up to 1,57,65,390 in 2017, as against 1,42,10,954 in 2016.

The year2017 also recorded the highest number of domestic tourism arrivals in the pastnine-year period, with the number posting an 11.39 percent rise compared with thefigures of 2016. An increase of 15 lakh new domestic tourists was recorded thisyear, with footfalls going up to 1,46,73,520 in 2017, as against 1,31,72,535 in2016.

Year 2017saw the highest domestic footfall in Kochi City with a total number of 23, 05,627tourists visiting Kerala’s commercial capital. It may be seen that aspects suchas MICE Tourism, Lulu Mall, Wonderla water theme park, the metro nature ofKochi city were those that brought in more domestic tourists to Kochi city.Meanwhile, the adjacent destinations such as Fort Kochi (2,02,535), and Maradu(98,047) also registered significant rise in domestic footfall.

The templetown of Guruvayur bagged the second place in terms of domestic touristpreference, while Thiruvananthapuram City came third.The fourth is Kovalam andfifth Kozhikode city, sixth Wayanad district, seventh Munnar, eighth Kumarakom,ninth Alappuzha and tenth Thekkady.

Taking intoaccount the numbers between 2013 and 2016, it has been seen that Guruvayur,which used to be the prime destination of domestic tourists during the past fewyears, fell in prominence, to the second slot this year. However, the pilgrimdestination has been witnessing tourist arrivals of more than 20 lakh per yearfor the last four years. In 2016, the footfall in Guruvayur was 2336394 whichreduced to 2138632 this year. Kozhikode city, in the meantime, fell to fifthposition in 2017 and  Kovalam to fourth. 

The hillstation of  Munnar recorded a footfall of 6,28,427 with an increase of34.31 per cent over the previous year. Domestic tourists were seen increasinglyvisiting Munnar –in 2013 the number was 3,68,816 and it rose to 6,28,427 in2017. Over the past five years, increase in percentage of domestic touristinflow to Munnar increased by 70.39 per cent. In the meantime, Wayanad districtregistered a footfall of 7, 11,546 with 25.08 percent increase over 2013, andthe beach destination of Kovalam registered a growth rate of 41.42 percent over2013.

The increasein flow of pilgrims to Padmanabhaswamy temple pushed up footfalls inThiruvananthapuram city to 12,17,446, showing a growth of 18.63 percent over2016. The growth rate is 47.04 percent over year 2013.

Foreigntourist arrivals to Kerala have registered a significant growth of 5.15 percentduring the year 2017, compared with the figures of the previous year. Accordingto statistics compiled by Kerala Tourism, Kerala saw as many as 10,91,870foreign travelers arriving at its famed destinations in 2017. This is againstthe total number of 10,38,419 tourists who arrived from foreign lands in 2016.

It has alsobeen found that foreign tourists preferred travellingto Thiruvananthapuram and Ernakulam districts, while also opting to visitdestinations like Alappuzha, Munnar and Wayanad.

In terms ofspecific locations, both foreign and domestic tourists were found to havepreferred Kochi city as a prime destination. Considering the foreign touristarrivals, Kovalam came second in preference and Varkala third. The fourth most preferred location was Fort Kochi, while the fifth slot went toThiruvananthapuram city, sixth to Alappuzha, seventh to Maradu in Ernakulam,eighth to Kumarakom, ninth to Munnar and the tenth slot was taken up byThekkady. Foreign travelers showed a liking for hotels and other accommodationunits in Kochi city while they toured Kerala.

Acomparative look at the trends throw up results which showed that Kovalam,which was the prime destination of international tourist till 2015, has beenlosing its charm in 2016 and 2017 over Kochi. Meanwhile, nearby beachdestinations like Varkala and Poovar showed significant growth.

While thegrowth rate of  Kovalam was just 5 percent in the last five years, Varkalaregistered a growth rate of 130.02 percent in the last five years, with thetotal foreign footfall in Varkala zooming to 1, 33,658 in 2017. Further, therehas also been a specific increase in the number of foreign tourists visitingKochi city, Fort Kochi and  Maradu, at 43.89 percent over the last 5years.

Totalfigures of these three destinations increased from 2,52,548 in year 2013 to3,63,400 in year 2017. Meanwhile, foreign tourist visits to Kumarakom andThekkady fell.

Accordingto Sri Kadakampally Surendran, Minister for Tourism, Cooperation andDevaswoms,  the statistics show up encouraging trends in terms ofincreasing footfalls both in the international as well as domestic segments.The domestic tourism circuit has shown laudable numbers, and it is hearteningthat the 2017 recorded the highest number of domestic tourism arrivals in thepast nine-year period.

Smt RaniGeorge IAS, Secretary, Department of Tourism, said that the trend in touristarrivals over the past 5 years has shown a marked change in the pattern oftourist visits to different destinations. It is exciting that more destinationsare being sought after by tourists, and that shows more destinations in Keralaare gaining in prominence in travelers’ minds, she said.

Accordingto Sri P Balakiran IAS, Director, Kerala Tourism, the touristarrival statistics have been compiled from all accommodation units of the stateby Kerala Tourism on a regular basis. The statistics includes only the figuresof tourists who are staying in accommodation units and hence the figures of daytime visitors and flowing tourists have not been taken into account, he added.

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