Tourism flourishes in God’s Own Country with arrivals from Sweden, Qatar & China on the rise

In spite of the terrible weather and the other adverse conditions, the tourist season in Kerala was well on course beating the last year statistics and according to the Ministry of Tourism, the state’s tourism has recorded some good growth from unexpected markets in 2018.

The bad weather, religious and political protests, increased competition from Sri Lanka and the devastating floods don’t seem to have affected the tourism industry through out Kerala as more and more visitors have arrived in the state from new markets.

“There was rampant apprehension that Kerala’s tourism will take a long time to recover. But we were able to allay these apprehensions by swiftly putting in place an effective action plan to win back the confidence of tourists,” said Kadakampally Surendran, Minister for Tourism, Govt of Kerala.

The number of tourists arriving from Sweden rose 54 per cent, in comparison with 2017, and is expected that 2019 will bring better results than last year. 14690 tourists from Sweden visited Kerala in 2018 compared to 9542 arrivals in 2017, registering an increase of 53.95 per cent. Qatar stands second in foreign tourist arrivals with 48.29 increase compared to 2017 which saw only 4448 tourists coming to Kerala.

“The quality of the products in Kerala has increased and there has been more professional marketing and intensive selling from the tourism department. Access to e-visa is also a factor which helped in increasing the tourist footfall from Sweden. We have just now released a new guidebook and we hope that it will generate great interest and sell well,” said Marianne, Ganesha Travel, Sweden.

Around 121895 tourists arrived from Saudi Arabia, Oman, UAE and Qatar in 2018, with Qatar leading the arrivals with 48.29 visitors in 2018.

“We have registered a good number of increase in tourist arrivals. We have been focusing on the Arab and Chinese markets for a long time, which is clearly reflecting in the FTA statistics, with Qatar and China showing considerable increase in tourist arrivals compared to last year. In the same manner, we have also conducted a roadshow in Sweden last year, for which we have received very good response. The current growth in tourist arrivals is because of these targeted promotions. There are other similar marketing promotions in the pipeline, which will be announced shortly. We are expecting that the current trend continues and register a better growth rate in the coming year,” said P Balakiran, Director, Kerala Tourism.

The growth in tourist arrivals can be attributed to the Tourism Department’s sustained promotion campaigns across all these source markets. The department ran ‘It’s time for KERALA campaign’ from November 2018 to January 2019, which was followed by ‘Human by Nature’ campaign in February. The video campaign has been designed to appeal to both high spenders and backpackers and firmly entrench Kerala’s tourism in a competitive global marketplace. Similarly, it has also launched “Dream Season” campaign in May to woo travellers during the monsoon by combining the magic of rains, wellness tourism, especially Ayurveda treatments, and backwaters. The Tourism Department is hopeful that the impact of these campaigns would be seen in the second quarter of 2019.

“Kerala Tourism is in a good position at the moment, we have good bookings for the monsoon and the winter season. We are expecting a 10-15 per cent increase from new markets like Sweden in the current year,” said Anish Kumar P K, CEO of The Travel Planners.