Thiruvananthapuram, Jan 19 (IANS) Despite reports of a bleak global economic situation, the money spinning tourism industry in Kerala has recorded a growth both in revenue and in terms of tourist arrivals.
Releasing the tentative figures for 2011, Kerala tourism director Rani George said: ‘While the number of international tourist arrivals grew from 650,000 in 2010 to 730,000 in 2011, the number of domestic tourists grew from 85 lakh (8.5 million) to 93 lakh (9.3 million).’
‘The foreign exchange earnings grew by 11.18 percent to touch Rs.4,221 crore while the total earnings grew 9.4 percent to reach Rs.19,037 crore,’ added George.
She said this year Kerala tourism will hold road shows in Russia and also in three cities in Saudi Arabia.
State Tourism Minister A.P. Anil Kumar said efforts will be made to revive the business that has been lost in the chartered flight sector.
‘In the past few years, chartered flights with tourists are not coming to Kerala while Goa is getting it. Tourism activities in Goa and Kerala cannot be compared because we do have limitations,’ said Kumar.
In the Christmas season and on New Year’s eve, several foreign tourists were allegedly harassed by the police and excise officials while they were having beer in and around the resorts at the famed Kovalam beach.
Reacting to this, Kumar said: ‘Yes, we did get reports of this and we are in talks with the excise department about the issue.’
Kumar also announced a slew of beautification programmes for major tourist destinations, including an environment-friendly beautification programme at Kovalam.
‘A one-and-half acre site near the beach is to be done up by setting up a bio-fence using shrubsalso seating arrangements would be made using stones. A Rs.3 crore craft village near Kovalam is also in its last stage of completion,’ said Kumar.
Another premier destination Varkala is also going to get a makeover at a cost of Rs.1.36 crore.