The figures released by the Kerala Tourism Department recently showed that there has been an increase of 11.39 per cent in domestic tourists and 5.15 per cent rise in foreign tourists in 2017 as compared to 2016. During 2017, 1,46,73,520 tourists visited the state, up from 1,31,72,535 in 2016. In terms of tourism revenue, total foreign exchange from the tourism sector during 2017 increased 8.29 per cent to INR 8,392.11 crores, as compared to 2016. The total revenue from tourism grew from INR 29,658.56 crore to INR 33,383.68 crore.
“This growth comes at a time when the tourism industry is suffering from adverse factors like enhanced GST rates and other issues. The growth figures point to the immense popularity Kerala Tourism enjoys beyond the borders,” said state minister of Tourism Kadakampally Surendran in Thiruvananthapuram. Rani George, secretary department of Tourism, said the new Tourism Policy 2017 has set an ambitious target of increasing domestic tourist arrivals by 50 per cent by 2021 and also in doubling the number of foreign tourists.
“This would require a growth of around nine per cent every year for domestic tourists and around 15 per cent for international tourists,” said George. Domestic travellers to Kerala mainly arrived from the southern states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra and Telangana. Tamil Nadu accounts for the maximum of 12.72 lakh visitors, followed by Karnataka with 9.33 lakh tourists, and Maharashtra with 5.47 lakh tourists. Taking into account the number of foreign travellers who arrived in Kerala, tourists from the UK came first with an increase of 16.35 per cent at 1,80,975 visitors.
As many as 92,951 travellers came from the US while the Canadian tourists stood at 28,676. The number of travellers from four Asian countries — China, Japan, Maldives and Indonesia — also registered positive growth. According to the Kerala Tourism statistics, the post-GST regime saw a decline in the growth rate of domestic tourist arrivals.