Kasargod records 269 per cent growth in foreign tourist arrival
Kasaragod, which has been behind the limelight of the Kerala tourism sector for years, has made a major come back in 2018. As per the statistics of the State Tourism Department, Kasaragod district ranked first in the number of foreign tourists with 269 per cent growth from the previous year. Kollam district, which is in the second place, recorded 45 per cent growth.
In 2017, just 1,115 foreign tourists arrived in Kasaragod district; which has increased has increased to 4,122 in 2018.
From among the foreign tourists visited Kasargod in 2018, 2,472 were through the ‘Smile’ initiatives.
SMiLE (Small and Medium Industries Leveraging Experiential Tourism) is an initiative of BRDC for promoting and facilitating tourism based small & medium entrepreneurial ventures in North Malabar. It has thrust on ‘experiential tourism’, given emphasis on unique, new experiences rather than providing a place to stay, relax and see places. Culture, myth, lifestyle, local cuisines etc. are greatly valued in the process.
SMiLE envisages economic upliftment and employment generation in the community and also has stress on preservation of environment and culture in tourism development.
The better results in Kasargod showed that BRDC’s tourism development strategy has been a huge success. The BRDC has been providing services for entrepreneurship training, marketing assistance and other services through primarily a small scale sponsored tourism program. The BRDC has also launched a SMiLE Virtual Tour Guide, designed to connect with tourists, entrepreneurs and attractions.
27 smile projects are being run by 57 entrepreneurs in Kasaragod. With this, they could accommodate around 200 tourists per day in the region. Another notable achievement is that the initiative could generate number of direct and indirect employment opportunities in the district.
Though there is remarkable increase in the number of foreign tourists in the district, the growth of domestic tourists stands at just 5 per cent. The managing director of BRDC said that efforts will be made to overcome the situation and to attract more domestic tourists to the region.
Bekal Resorts Development Corporation Limited (BRDC) was instituted in the year 1995, as part of The Kerala Tourism, which focuses on planned, environment-friendly and ecologically viable methods of tourism development. The company concentrates on destination development, investment attractions, promotional initiatives etc., ensuring that the development is beneficial to the local community.