Express News Service
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Assuring a return to the good times, major tourist destinations in the state are finally seeing an influx of crowds pretty much similar to the pre-Covid times. The holiday season of Vishu and Easter saw a good rush of travellers, instilling a renewed vigour in the industry that is hopping back on track.
With more people choosing to travel after the lifting of restrictions, the tourism stakeholders are enthused and optimistic. According to Idukki District Tourism Promotion Council secretary Jitheesh Jose, all centres under it have seen a rise in the number of visitors.
“While popular tourist centres have found twice the number of travellers, some of the less frequented destinations have seen a ten-fold increase. People are looking for a break and the four-day holiday provided just that. In Munnar, all hotel rooms were booked a week ahead of the holidays, and the only accommodation available was some 30km away from the hill station,” Jitheesh said.
Besides a mix of local and outstation visitors, group tours from north India have also begun, he added.
Tour operators in Kerala are also finding the situation promising. “The tourist response this time has been the best among recent seasons. Even during the pre-Covid times, we hadn’t seen so many travellers in April, especially as it would be the exam time.
But now people are travelling because they are frustrated with having had to sit at home for such a long time. It is a positive and promising trend,” said Abraham George, the chairman and managing director of Intersight Tours and Travels, which organises tours inside and outside Kerala.
According to Jose Dominic, the director and co-founder of CGH Earth, there has been a healthy growth in the number of travellers. “People just want to get out of their houses and book themselves into a resort or hotel. The Vishu and Easter season has seen our resorts getting fully booked. But to keep the momentum going, we need to ensure a cleaner and healthier Kerala,” Dominic pointed out.
The caravan tourism, launched in the state recently, is also finding a good number of takers. The stakeholders are optimistic of enlisting more vehicles for the same. Naveen Mohan, the vice-president of Citrine Hospitality Ventures, said there has been no shortage of bookings since the launch of the service. The firm is the first to have launched caravan tourism in Vagamon.
“During the Vishu season, our caravans have been fully booked. Currently, we have two caravans and we are going to increase them to cater to the flurry of bookings. The main reason people are opting for caravan tourism is the privacy and the comfort they get. It becomes their exclusive holiday,” Naveen said.
He said the rising footfall offers plenty of promise for the industry.“We have resorts across Kerala, and all of them were fully booked. If the trend continues, and once the foreign markets open, we will start getting guests like we used to,” he said.
Care for a caravan?
The recently launched caravan tourism project has got a fillip, with an encouraging number of takers. Thanks to increasing bookings and enquiries, operators are planning to add more units to their “exclusive holiday” fleets.