Tourism in Kerala is poised to scale new heights with tourist flows into the state this year marking a 30 per cent increase.
While there was a steady growth in arrivals to the state since 2002, the increase in tourist inflows is expected to be nearly 30 per cent this year, according to the state economic review.
It was more heartening that there was a boom in ‘quality tourism’ during the period, it said.
The earning from the sector increased from Rs 535 crore in 2001 to Rs 705.67 crore in 2002, which accounted for 6.29 per cent of the gross domestic product.
Apart from the state’s inherent attractions like long beaches, backwaters and hill stations and ayurveda, village tourism has been identified as a new product to be developed.
Another new concept would be mice — meetings, incentives, conventions and events, exhibitions and trade shows.
The state government had recently asked the centre that one of the two international convention centres being planned should be located in Kerala.
According to state tourism minister K V Thomas, if the Centre rejects the proposal, the state would develop the facility in joint venture at Akkulam near the state capital.
Events like Kerala Travel Mart, national boat show, mystiques of Malabar and Kerala gold fest have helped Kerala to emerge as an attractive destination, the review said.
Roadshows conducted within and outside the country and showcasing of the state in major world tourism fairs also contributed to its emergence as a sought-after destination.
Besides traditional markets like Europe and America, the state was now looking into emerging markets like China.
Being a service industry, travel and tourism was expected to create direct 7,57,100 jobs over the next 10 years, it said.