Kerala, a state situated on the tropical Malabar Coast of southwestern India, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. Named as one of the ten paradises of the world by National Geographic Traveler, Kerala is famous especially for its ecotourism initiatives and beautiful backwaters. Its unique culture and traditions, coupled with its varied demography, have made Kerala one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Growing at a rate of 13.31%, the tourism industry is a major contributor to the state's economy.
Until the early 1980s, Kerala was a relatively unknown destination, with most tourism circuits concentrated around the north of the country. Aggressive marketing campaigns launched by the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation—the government agency that oversees tourism prospects of the state—laid the foundation for the growth of the tourism industry. In the decades that followed, Kerala Tourism was able to transform itself into one of the niche holiday destinations in India. The tag line Kerala – God's Own Country was adopted in its tourism promotions and became a global superbrand. Kerala is regarded as one of the destinations with the highest brand recall. In 2010, Kerala attracted 660,000 foreign tourist arrivals.
Kerala is an established destination for both domestic as well as foreign tourists. Kerala is well known for its beaches, backwaters in Alappuzha and Kollam, mountain ranges and wildlife sanctuaries. Other popular attractions in the state include the beaches at Kovalam, Kappad, Cherai and Varkala; backwater tourism and lake resorts around Ashtamudi Lake, Kollam; hill stations and resorts at Munnar, Wayanad, Nelliampathi, Vagamon and Ponmudi; and national parks and wildlife sanctuaries at Periyar, Parambikulam and Eravikulam National Park. The "backwaters" region—an extensive network of interlocking rivers, lakes, and canals that centre on Ashtamudi Lake, Kollam, also see heavy tourist traffic. Heritage sites, such as the Padmanabhapuram Palace, Hill Palace, and Mattancherry Palace, are also visited. The city of Kochi ranks first in the total number of international and domestic tourists in Kerala. To further promote tourism in Kerala, the Grand Kerala Shopping Festival was started by the Government of Kerala in 2007. Since then it has been held every year during the December–January period.
The state's tourism agenda promotes ecologically sustained tourism, which focuses on the local culture, wilderness adventures, volunteering and personal growth of the local population. Efforts are taken to minimise the adverse effects of traditional tourism on the natural environment, and enhance the cultural integrity of local people.
Since its incorporation as a state, Kerala's economy largely operated under welfare-based democratic socialist principles. This mode of development, though it resulted in a high Human Development Index and standard of living among the people, led to an economic stagnation in the 1980s (growth rate of 2.3% annually).) This apparent paradox—high human development and low economic development—led to a large number of educated unemployed seeking jobs overseas, especially in the Gulf countries. Due to the large number of expatriates, many travel operators and agencies set up shop in the state to facilitate their travel needs. However, the trends soon reciprocated, with the travel agencies noticing the undermined potential of the state as a tourist destination. The first travel agency in Kerala, Kerala Travels, was founded by Col G.V. Raja of the Travancore royal family along with P.G.C. Pillai.
By 1986, tourism had gained an industry status. Kerala Tourism subsequently adopted the tagline God's Own Country in its advertisement campaigns. Aggressive promotion in print and electronic media were able to invite a sizable investment in the hospitality industry. By the early 2000s, tourism had grown into a full–fledged, multibillion-dollar industry in the state. The state was able to carve a niche for itself in the world tourism industry, thus becoming one of the places with the "highest brand recall". In 2003, Kerala, a hitherto unknown tourism destination, became the fastest growing tourism destination in the world.
Today, growing at a rate of 13.31%, Kerala is one of the most visited tourism destinations in India.
Main article: Beaches in Kerala
Flanked on the western coast by the Arabian Sea, Kerala has a long coastline of 580 km (360 mi); all of which is virtually dotted with sandy beaches.
Kovalam beach near Thiruvananthapuram was among the first beaches in Kerala to attract tourists. Rediscovered by back-packers and tan-seekers in the 1960s and followed by hordes of hippies in the 1970s, Kovalam is today the most visited beach in the state.
Other popularly visited beaches in the state include those at Kappad, Alappuzha, Marari Beach(Mararikulam, Alappuzha), Nattika (Thrissur), Vadanappilly beach (Thrissur), Cherai Beach, Beypore beach, Marari beach, Fort Kochi, and Varkala. The Muzhappilangad Beach at Kannur is the only drive-in beach in India. Marari beach was rated as one of the worlds top five HAMMOCK BEACH by National Geographic survey. Payambalam beach is one of the most beautiful beach in Kerala situated in Kannur. Other beaches in Kannur include baby beach, meenkunnu beach, azhikode beach, madaiparra beach, chootath beach, mermaid beach.
Main article: Kerala Backwaters
The backwaters in Kerala are a chain of brackish lagoons and lakes lying parallel to the Arabian Sea coast (known as the Malabar Coast). Houseboat or Kettuvallam rides in the backwaters are a major tourist attraction. Backwater tourism is centered mostly around Ashtamudi Lake, Kollam. Boat races held during festival seasons are also a major tourist attraction in the backwater regions.
The backwater network includes large lakes such as the Ashtamudi Lake, the largest among them, linked by 1500 km of canals, both man-made and natural and fed by several rivers, and extending virtually the entire length of Kerala state. The backwaters were formed by the action of waves and shore currents creating low barrier islands across the mouths of the many rivers flowing down from the Western Ghats range.
Backwaters in Kerala for honeymoon and family holiday are quite popular. You may short some best Kerala backwaters tour packages after reading about Kerala backwaters reviews available on various websites.
Eastern Kerala consists of land encroached upon by the Western Ghats; the region thus includes high mountains, gorges, and deep-cut valleys. The wildest lands are covered with dense forests, while other regions lie under tea and coffee plantations (established mainly in the 19th and 20th centuries) or other forms of cultivation.
The Western Ghats rise on average to 1500 m elevation above sea level. Some of the popular hill stations in the region are Munnar, Vagamon, Paithalmala, Wayanad, Nelliyampathi, Elapeedika, Peermade, Thekkady and Ponmudi.
Main article: Flora and fauna of Kerala
Most of Kerala, whose native habitat consists of wet evergreen rainforests at lower elevations and highlanddeciduous and semi-evergreen forests in the east, is subject to a humid tropical climate. However, significant variations in terrain and elevation have resulted in a land whose biodiversity registers as among the world’s most significant. Most of Kerala's significantly biodiverse tracts of wilderness lie in the evergreen forests of its easternmost districts. Kerala also hosts two of the world’s Ramsar Convention-listed wetlands: Lake Sasthamkotta and the Vembanad-Kol wetlands are noted as being wetlands of international importance. There are also numerous protected conservation areas, including 1455.4 km2 of the vast Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. In turn, the forests play host to such major fauna as Asian elephant (Elephas maximus), Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris tigris), leopard (Panthera pardus), Nilgiri tahr (Nilgiritragus hylocrius), and grizzled giant squirrel (Ratufa macroura). More remote preserves, including Silent Valley National Park in the Kundali Hills, harbour endangered species such as the lion-tailed macaque (Macaca silenus), Indian sloth bear (Melursus (Ursus) ursinus ursinus), and gaur (the so-called "Indian bison"—Bos gaurus). More common species include Indian porcupine (Hystrix indica), chital (Axis axis), sambar (Cervus unicolor), gray langur, flying squirrel, swamp lynx (Felis chaus kutas), boar (Sus scrofa), a variety of catarrhineOld World monkey species, gray wolf (Canis lupus), and common palm civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus). Many reptiles, such as king cobra, viper, python, various turtles and crocodiles are to be found in Kerala—again, disproportionately in the east. Kerala's avifauna include endemics like the Sri Lanka frogmouth (Batrachostomus moniliger), Oriental bay owl, large frugivores like the great hornbill (Buceros bicornis) and Indian grey hornbill, as well as the more widespread birds such as peafowl, Indian cormorant, jungle and hill myna, Oriental darter, black-hooded oriole, greater racket-tailed and blackdrongoes, bulbul (Pycnonotidae), species of kingfisher and woodpecker, jungle fowl, Alexandrine parakeet, and assorted ducks and migratory birds. Additionally, freshwater fish such as kadu (stinging catfish—Heteropneustes fossilis) and brackishwater species such as Choottachi (orange chromide—Etroplus maculatus, valued as an aquarium specimen) also are native to Kerala's lakes and waterways.
- Adyanpara Falls, near Nilambur
- Aruvikkuzhi, near Maramon, Kozhencherry in Pathanamthitta District
- Aruvikkuzhi, near Pallickathode, Kottayam District
- Athirappilly Falls 80 ft (24 m)
- Charpa Falls
- Cheeyappara Falls, near Adimali
- Chethalayam Falls, in Wayanad
- Kumbhavurutty Falls in Kollam district
- Lakkom Water Falls
- Madatharuvi Falls, near Ranny in Pathanamthitta District
- Marmala waterfall
- Meenmutty Falls, Thiruvananthapuram
- Meenmutty Falls 984 ft (300 m), in Wayanad
- Mulamkuzhi, near Malayattoor in Ernakulam District
- Panieli Poru waterfalls Ernakulam
- Palaruvi Falls, 300 ft (91 m) in Aryankavu near Punalur in Kollam district
- Pattathippara Falls
- Perunthenaruvi Falls
- Siruvani Waterfalls Palakkad
- Soochipara Falls 656 ft (200 m) / Sentinelrock falls, in Wayanad
- Thommankuthu Falls, near Thodupuzha
- Thusharagiri Falls
- Valara Falls, near Adimali
- Vazhachal Falls, near Athirappilly
- Vazhvanthol waterfalls Trivandrum
Lighthouses are the main centre of attractions of Kerala beaches and coast line. There are 15 lighthouses in the entire state of Kerala. Districts of Kollam, Kannur, Kozhikode, Alappuzha, Thrissur and Thiruvananthapuram have more than one lighthouse.
- Major Lighthouses
- Vizhinjam lighthouse, Thiruvananthapuram
- Anjengo lighthouse, Thiruvananthapuram
- Tangasseri Lighthouse, Kollam
- Kovilthottam Lighthouse, Kollam
- Alappuzha Lighthouse, Alappuzha
- Manakkodam Lighthouse, Alappuzha
- Cochin Lighthouse, Ernakulam(Tallest in the state)
- Azhikode Lighthouse, Thrissur
- Chetwai Lighthouse, Thrissur
- Ponnani Lighthouse, Malappuram
- Beypore Lighthouse, Kozhikode
- Kozhikode lighthouse, Kozhikode (Defunct)
- Cannanore Lighthouse, Kannur
- Mount Dilly Lighthouse, Kannur
- Kasargode Lighthouse, Kasargode
The major festival in Kerala is Onam. Kerala has a number of religious festivals. Thrissur Pooram, Attukal Pongala, Beema Palli Uroos, and Chettikulangara Bharani are the major temple festivals in Kerala. The Thrissur Pooram is conducted at the Vadakumnathan temple, Thrissur. The Chettikulangara Bharani is another major attraction. The festival is conducted at the Chettikulangara temple near Mavelikkara. The Sivarathri is also an important festival in Kerala. This festival is mainly celebrated in Aluva Temple and Padanilam Parabrahma Temple. Padanilam Temple is situated in Alappuzha district of Kerala, about 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) from Mavelikkara town. Parumala Perunnal, Manarkadu Perunnal are the major festivals of Christians. Muslims also have many important festivals. Annual festival Thirayattam is conducted Sacred groves and village shrine of south malabar region (kozhikode and malappuram districts) in Kerala. "Thirayattam" is a vibrant Ethnic performing art. it is an admixture of dance,drama, songs,instrumental music,facial and body makeup, satire, martial art and ritualistic function, composed in a harmonizing manner.
Kerala is also known for the many events conducted by the Ministry of Tourism for tourist attractions. Kochi-Muziris Biennale, the first Biennale in India was conducted in Kochi from 12 December 2012 till 13 March 2013.The government contributed about 12-150 million on the event. An International Coir Fest is conducted annually that is aimed at developing the coir industry of Kerala and tourism.
Grand Kerala Shopping Festival
To further promote tourism in Kerala, the Government of Kerala started the Grand Kerala Shopping Festival in the year 2007. Since then it has become an annual shopping event being conducted in the December–January period. During this period stores and shops registered under the GKSF offer a wide range of discounts, VAT refunds, etc. Along with the guaranteed shopping experience, shoppers are provided with gift coupons for a fixed worth of purchase entering them into weekly and mega lucky draws. As compared to shopping festivals held in other countries, this Festival converts the entire state of Kerala into a giant shopping mall, incorporating not just the big players, but also the small and medium scale industries. Through this shopping festival, the Kerala Government intends to transform the State into a hub for international shopping experience and thereby launch "Shopping Tourism" in the state.
Medical tourism, promoted by traditional systems of medicine like Ayurveda and Siddha, is widely popular in the state, and draws increasing numbers of tourists. A combination of many factors has led to the increase in popularity of medical tourism: high costs of healthcare in industrialised nations, ease and affordability of international travel, improving technology and standards of care.
However, rampant recent growth in this sector has made the government apprehensive. The government is now considering introduction of a grading system which would grade hospitals and clinics, thus helping tourists in selecting one for their treatments.
Main articles: Arts of Kerala and Culture of Kerala
Kerala's culture is mainly Hindu in origin, deriving from a greater Tamil-heritage region known as Tamilakam. Later, Kerala's culture was elaborated on through centuries of contact with overseas cultures. Native performing arts include koodiyattom, kathakali—from katha ("story") and kali ("play")—and its offshoot Kerala Natanam, koothu (akin to stand-up comedy), mohiniaattam ("dance of the enchantress"), thullal, padayani, thirayattam, and theyyam. Other arts are more religion- and tribal-themed. These include chavittu nadakom, oppana (originally from Malabar), which combines dance, rhythmic hand clapping, and ishal vocalisations. However, many of these art forms largely play to tourists or at youth festivals, and are not as popular among most ordinary Keralites, who look to more contemporary art and performance styles, including those employing mimicry and parody. Additionally, a substantial Malayalam film industry effectively competes against both Bollywood and Hollywood.
Several ancient ritualised arts are Keralite in origin; these include kalaripayattu (kalari ("place", "threshing floor", or "battlefield") and payattu ("exercise" or "practice")). Among the world's oldest martial arts, oral tradition attributes kalaripayattu's emergence to Parasurama. Other ritual arts includeThirayattam, theyyam, poorakkali and Kuthiyottam. Thirayattam is a ritual performing folk aet form of south malabe region in kerala.This vibrant art form blend of dance, music, theatre, satire, facial & body painting, masking, martial art and ritualistic function.Thirayattam enacted i courtyards of "Kaavukal"(sacred groves)and village shrine.
Kuthiyottam is a ritualistic symbolic representation of human bali (homicide). Folklore exponents see this art form, with enchanting well–structured choreography and songs, as one among the rare Adi Dravida folklore traditions still preserved and practised in Central Kerala in accordance with the true tradition and environment. Typical to the Adi Dravida folk dances and songs, the movements and formations of dancers (clad in white thorthu and banyan) choreographed in Kuthiyottam are quick, peaks at a particular point and ends abruptly. The traditional songs also start in a stylish slow pace, then gain momentum and end abruptly.
Kuthiyotta Kalaris', run by Kuthiyotta Ashans (Teachers or leaders), train the group to perform the dances and songs. Normally, the training starts about one to two months before the season. Young boys between 8 and 14 years are taught Kuthiyottam, a ritual dance in the house amidst a big social gathering before the portrait of the deity. Early in the morning on Bharani, after the feast and other rituals, the boys whose bodies are coiled with silver wires, one end of which is tied around his neck and an arecanut fixed on the tip of a knife held high over his head, are taken in procession to the temple with the accompaniment of beating of drums, music, ornamental umbrellas, and other classical folk art forms, and richly caparisoned elephants.
All through the way to the temple tender coconut water will be continually poured on his body. After the circumambulation the boys stands at a position facing the Sreekovil (Sanctum Sanctorum) and begins to dance. This ceremony ends with dragging the coil pierced to the skin whereby a few drops of blood comes out.
On this day just after midday the residents of the locality bring huge decorated effigies of Bhima panchalia, Hanuman and extremely beautiful tall chariots in wheeled platforms, and after having darshan the parties take up their respective position in the paddy fields lying east of the temple.
During the night, the image of Devi will be carried in procession to the effigies stationed in the paddy fields. On the next day these structures will be taken back. A big bazaar is also held at Chetikulangara as part of this festival. Kuthiyottam is the main vazipadu of the Chettikulangara temple, Mavelikkara.
In respect of Fine Arts, the State has an abounding tradition of both ancient and contemporary art and artists.The traditional Kerala murals are found in ancient temples, churches and palaces across the State. These paintings, mostly dating to between the 9th to 12th centuries AD, display a distinct style, and a colour code which is predominantly ochre and green.
Like the rest of India, religious diversity is very prominent in Kerala. The principal religions are Hinduism, Christianity, and Islam; Jainism, Judaism, Sikhism, and Buddhism have smaller followings. The state's historic ties with the rest of the world have resulted in the state having many famous temples, churches, and mosques notably 8 of the world's oldest churches—from the 1st century CE, founded by Thomas the Apostle when he reached Indian shores, the first mosque of India, which existed even before the death of the prophet Muhammad and the oldest active synagogue in the Commonwealth of Nations.
Recognising the potential of tourism in the diversity of religious faiths, related festivals and structures, the tourism department launched a "Pilgrimage tourism" project. Major pilgrim tourism attractions include Guruvayur, Sabarimala, Malayatoor, Paradesi Synagogue, St. Mary's Forane (Martha Mariam) Church Kuravilangad built in 105 A.D, Attukal Pongala (which has the Guinness record for being the largest gathering of women in the planet), and Chettikulangara Bharani.
See also: Pooram
Kerala Tourism is noted for its innovative and market-focused ad campaigns. These campaigns have won the tourism department numerous awards, including the Das Golden Stadttor Award for Best Commercial, 2006,Pacific Asia Travel Association- Gold Award for Marketing, 2003 and the Government of India's Best Promotion Literature, 2004, Best Publishing, 2004 and Best Tourism Film, 2001.
Catchy slogans and innovative designs are considered a trademark of brand Kerala Tourism. Celebrity promotions are also used to attract more tourists to the state. The Kerala tourism website is widely visited, and has been the recipient of many awards. Recently, the tourism department has also engaged in advertising via mobiles, by setting up a WAP portal, and distributing wallpapers and ringtones related to Kerala through it.
The state has won numerous awards for its tourism initiatives. These include:
- 2016 - ITB-Berlin"s Golden City Gate Gold Award for Kerala tourism
- 2014 - ITB-Berlin's Golden City Gate Gold Award for Print Campaign
- 2014 -UNWTO Ulysses Award for Innovation in Public Policy and Governance for Sustainable Tourism
- 2012 - Kerala Tourism wins silver prize at the Golden Gate Award of the Internationale Tourismus-Börse Berlin
- 2005 - Nominated as one among the three finalists at the World Travel and Tourism Council's 'Tourism for Tomorrow' awards in the destination category
- Das Golden Stadttor Award for Best Commercial, 2006
- Pacific Asia Travel Association
- Grand award for Environment, 2006
- Gold award for Ecotourism, 2006
- Gold award for Publication, 2006
- Gold Award for E-Newsletter, 2005
- Honourable Mention for Culture, 2005
- Gold Award for Culture, 2004
- Gold Award for Ecotourism, 2004
- Gold Award for CD-ROM, 2004 and 2003
- Gold Award for Marketing, 2003
- Grand Award for Heritage, 2002
- Pacific Asia Travel Writers Association
- International Award for Leisure Tourism, 2000–2001
- Government of India
- Best Performing Tourism State, 2005
- Best Maintained Tourist-friendly Monument, 2005
- Best Publishing, 2005
- Best Marketed and Promoted State, 2004.
- Best Maintained Tourist-friendly Monument, 2004
- Best Innovative Tourism Project, 2004
- Best Promotion Literature, 2004
- Best Publishing, 2004
- Best Performing State for 2003, 2001, 2000 and 1999 - Award for Excellence in Tourism.
- Best Practices by a State Government, 2003
- Best Eco-tourism Product, 2003
- Best Wildlife Sanctuary, 2003
- Most Innovative Use of Information Technology, 2003 and 2001
- Most Tourist-friendly International Airport, 2002
- Most Eco-friendly Destination, 2002
- Best Tourism Film, 2001 ( madivilikkunnu star in pavnlal )
- Outlook Traveller - TAAI
- Best State that promoted Travel & Tourism, 2000–2001
- Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry
- Award for Best Marketing, 2003
- Award for Best Use of IT in Tourism, 2003
- Galileo - Express Travel & Tourism
- Award for the Best Tourism Board, 2006
- Award for the Best State Tourism Board, 2003
Muziris Heritage Project
Muziris Heritage Project is a tourism venture by Tourism Department of Kerala to "reinstate the historical and cultural significance Muziris". The idea of the project came after the extensive excavations and discoveries at Pattanam by Kerala Council for Historical Research. The project also covers various other historically significant sites and monuments in central Kerala.
The nearby site of Kottapuram, a 16th-century fort, was also excavated (from May 2010) as part of the Muziris Heritage Project.
Department of Forests and Wildlife (Kerala)
Department of Forests and Wildlife (Kerala) : Headquarters and training centre are both located in Thiruvananthapuram city. More information on ecotourism destinations and permissions for trekking including arranging guides can be obtained through the department as well. .
Outline of Tourism in India
Notes and references
This audio file was created from a revision of the article "Tourism in Kerala" dated 2006-03-08, and does not reflect subsequent edits to the article. (Audio help)
More spoken articles
- ^"Kerala Tourism: Paradises in the world". The Hindu. Retrieved 20 February 2012.
- ^"Tourism beckons". The Hindu. 11 May 2004. Retrieved 9 August 2006.
- ^ ab"Tourist statistics for Kerala"(PDF). Tourism Statistics and lpu. Kerala Tourism Development Corporation. Archived from the original(PDF) on 1 July 2006. Retrieved 9 August 2006.
- ^"Kerala Tourism – Superbrand". Superbrand status of Kerala Tourism brand. Government of Kerala. Archived from the original on 12 July 2006. Retrieved 9 August 2006.
- ^Monday, 18 July 2011 at 1745 hrs IST (18 July 2011). "Andhra Pradesh top tourist destination: Tourism Ministry". Financialexpress.com. Retrieved 13 August 2012.
- ^"Tourist statistics – 2008"(PDF). Government of Kerala, Tourism Department. Retrieved 22 October 2010.
- ^ ab"Shopping festival begins". The Hindu. 2 December 2007.
- ^Mohindra 2003, p. 8.
- ^Kerala Tourism - Branding a Tourist Destination
- ^Kerala is the world's fastest-growing tourism destination says Renuka Choudhry. Domain-b.com (17 August 2004).
- ^NDTV - God's own country: Govt launches campaign to pull touristsArchived 17 March 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
- ^Ayub, Akber (ed), Kerala: Maps & More, Coastal Circuit, 2006 edition 2007 reprint, pp. 96-112, Stark World Publishing, Bangalore, ISBN 81-902505-2-3
- ^Govind, M.Harish. "Ramparts by the Arabian Sea". Magazine. The Hindu, 19 June 2005. Retrieved 8 January 2008.
- ^MINUTES OF THE WORKSHOP ON RESPONSIBLE TOURISM FOR KOVALAMArchived 3 January 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
- ^"Best Beaches of Kerala". irisholidays.com. 2015-02-14.
- ^"7 Best Kerala Backwaters You Should Explore - Travel News India". travelnewsindia.com. 2017-02-21.
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- ^"Directorate General of Lighthouses and Lightships". DGLL. Retrieved 31 August 2015.
- ^"Thirayattam" (folklore Text- malayalam, moorkkanad peethambaran), State Institute of language, Kerala ISBN 978-81-200-4294-0
Kerala Tourism is having a global presence and with its clear strategy for growth sheer marketing activities, it has gained a lot of tourist from all over the world, Especially from UK, USA, France and Australia. This article aims to understand the marketing strategy of Kerala Tourism makes suggestion and develop a model to improve the tourism within & outside state.
Diversity in India is a known concept in India and its worth to market these diversities through tourism and Indian tourism and travel industry is estimated to be Rs 5533 Billion rupees as per Dun and Bradstreet. With 173.48 billion of earnings from tourism in state it will provide an opportunity to increase trade combined with other tourism also gives an immense scope to diversify its portfolio of trade opportunities to foreign tourist. Let us see how Kerala is pitching to Foreign and Domestic tourists.
Image Source: http://osakaair.com/kerala-natural-wonders
The Mission and Vision of Kerala Tourism is to position itself as a global destination for tourism which, based on the advantage of the local resources, thereby attracting investment and resulting into sustainable development for the people of Kerala.
Framework of Kerala Tourism- This framework below is as per the National Tourism policy for Kerala State on which the whole strategy is formulated.
Source-a report on Kerala’s Approach to Tourism Development: A Case Study Ministry of Tourism Government of India and CRISIL
The implementation of this framework leaded to tourism development and the feedback received from domestic and international tourist were that they wanted to revisit the state and What Kerala has done is that it has made tourism a sustainable business venture and developed on a positioning strategy with proper Tourism Marketing Communication Mix.
Gods Own country’s contribution to India-Kerala which has a mixture of Beaches, Backwater, Ancient Medicines, Natural wealth, Multicultural cuisines good weather and highly educated people makes Kerala irresistible to foreign and domestic tourist. In 2010 Kerala had 3.7% share of the total foreign tourist arriving in India. We can find out from the below table that how Kerala has grown since 2002 till 2010 in terms of Number of arrivals and Foreign Exchange earned.
It was also observed that from 2002 till 2010 the Top 3 countries tourist who visited Kerala were UK, France and the USA. And the top 3 places visited by them were Ernakulum, Thiruvananthpuram, and Idukki. The Top 3 favourite places visited by Domestic tourists were Thrissur, Ernakulum, and Thiruvananthpuram. The domestic tourist was predominantly from States like TamilNadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi and Gujarat. These states are sharing the border with the state and where there is high number of corporate houses.
SWOT analysis of the State
So what kind of profile the tourists have?-The USP of Kerala lies in the following- Backwater Tourism, Ayurved and Spa, Houseboats Tour, Temples, Islands and Tea Gardens. The favorite month for the tourist is between November to January. The STP for Kerala could be defined as
Segment-SEC A,B, and C, Age Group between 20-59, Mostly People into Service, Industrialist and Self Employed
Target-More of Corporate and Every class of the Society
Positioning-MICE tourism (Meetings Incentives Conventions and Exhibition) combined with Eco tourism for Business tourism, and Eco and Heritage tourism internationally and domestically for non business tourism
Tourism Segmented by tour objectives – Based on the above segmentation Kerala has the following segment various tourist package as a)Dream Season – Off season Budget tourist Packages b)Best of Kerala–Luxury Tourism c)Captivating Kerala–Tea Gardens, Spice Plantation and Fort d)Kerala Culinary Tour–Food Tourism e)Exotic Kerala–Resorts in Nature Temples and Ayurvedic Massage f)Hills & backwater–Backwater and House Boat promotions g)Honeymoon package–Houseboat, Wildlife resort, Temples, Backwater resort h)The Treasures Of Kerala–Promoting Beaches and Nature etc.
What Marketing Communication strategy Kerala Tourism Implements?
1. Web Promotions–Kerala Tourism website receives nearly 1.5 million hits and 2.50 lakhs page views per month. The key contents in the website includes Key Contents of the Website include Ayurveda, Cuisine, Boat Races, “Plan Your Trip”, Festival Calendar, Shopping Options, Picture and Video Gallery, Destination Gallery, and Visitor Queries.
2. MICE Tourism–It is positioned as the ‘Corporate Playground’. This product is highlighted in all road shows and trade meets. The websites through its strategy of trade promotions uses its USP like the backwater and promote foreigners in the pictures to indicate tourism while they are on their business trip.
3. Separate promotion of Eco Tourism and Business Tourism
4. Separate International Print and Website Advertising–Promoting Beaches and other destinations with a foreign people in the advertising.
5. Sponsorship of Events like Co-sponsor of Kovalam Literary Festival, the India International Boat Show, organized by Kerala Tourism jointly with India Tourism, Sponsored VAGA Fest at Kerala
6.Participation in International Fairs-Kerala tourism participates in all the major international events related to its identified source markets. Some of the key international fairs the state has participated in the year 2003 were-International Tourism’s Bourse (ITB) 2003, Berlin, Arabian Travel Mart (ATM), 2003, Dubai, PATA Travel Mart 2003, Singapore, World Travel Mart (WTM) 2003, London etc.
7. Overseas Partnership-Kerala is the first state in India, and indeed the world, to become the ‘partner state’ to the World Travel and Tourism Council which is a global forum for travel and tourism
8. Collaboration With PATA and Germany for international Branding by participating in meets and forums and using the Bilateral Agreement Germany has agreed to development of tourism market in Kerala example development of backwaters, Solid waste management, Human Resources Development in Kerala are some of the initiatives
9. Certification of Places-Certifications of tourist resources like ‘Gold Star’ and ‘Silver Star’ Certifications for Houseboats, ‘Green Palm’ Certifications for Eco-friendly Measures, ‘Green Leaf’ Certifications for Ayurveda Centres, ‘STEP’ Certification for Safe-To-Eat Places certification creates benchmarks for tourist spots and gives tourists an Idea about tourism credibility in terms of food, safety and services.
Way Ahead –The Tourism Department of Kerala projects a growth rate of 7 % per annum in foreign tourist arrivals and 9 % annual growth in domestic tourist arrivals as per Tata Economic Consultancy Services and 12% as per 12th Fiver Plan. The following steps can help ensure prosperity in the Local and MICE tourism
Encourage Upcoming Places – Through the tourism data we can analyze that the places like Guruvayoor, Kumarkom, Munnar, Wayanad, and Muzhupalingad are the upcoming tourist spots. These spots can be clustered with other less tourist areas and a theme based concept can be introduced to promote the same. The advantages of this theme would be more employment in the nearby areas, access to tourist through its transport, and customized tour packages will give a different tourist experience altogether.
Encouraging ‘Free Market’ concept – This will boost trade within the state. Kerala is known for tea plantations, cashews, sea foods, and spices. These are generally manufactured by small and medium farmers. The state can give temporary license to market their products in other part of the states for say 15 days for 3 months. The infrastructure cost can be borne by the government and it can earn revenue through license and taxes. These ‘temporary’ markets will boost trade in non core areas, better bargaining power to the domestic and foreign tourist, and more tourist attraction to the places.
Focus on MICE tourism – Exports products like Fishes, Cashew to country like USA, UAE, Netherlands, Russia, Germany and Asian countries plays an important role in developing MICE tourism. These exports are more through the ports, so for MICE tourism, the exporting country nationals can be pitched for Food tourism, Medical Tourism and Backwater tourism.
This tourism would set benchmarks for setting up Industrial centres in the states which will give additional boost to development of states. So the Meetings and convention centres would have water sports and backwater resort facility with the flavour of local cuisines. The state could identify the exports towards countries like China, Russia, Malaysia and Scandinavian Countries and can give tax holidays for countries that increase the exports over the years.
Advantage of being Tech Savvy – The website can be made interactive and the tourism state minister speech can be uploaded laying its vision and seriousness towards its tourist and a mobile app wherein online booking, Location information, and budget calculator can help prospective tourist.
So from the strategy and suggestions above the model can be followed for MICE and general Tourism
Conclusion – Kerala beingone of the states which is an example of Sustainable tourism needs to market various other forms of tourism like Heritage, Food and Medical tourism by the strengths of the clustered area as suggested above. This needs support from Private players and the government needs to act as a facilitator for these activities in terms of certifying the tourist spots for benchmarking activities. The government need to enter into bilateral agreement to solve the infrastructural issues domestically and internationally which will further boost economic development.
This article has been authored by Sushant S Srivastava from SIES College of Management.
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