Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Friday, Apr 12, 2002
Young couples lead tourist inflow
A young couple at the Athirappilly waterfalls near Chalakkudi in Kerala.
KOCHI, April 11
AS Kerala tourism becomes more mature, tourists visiting the State seem to be getting younger every year.
It promises to be a very good summer for Kerala's hospitality industry, and young couples seem to be leading the inflow this season.
The pace of reservations has begun to swell and the flow of domestic tourists to the State has surged.
``Going by the early trends, we should be having one of the best domestic tourist season in years,'' Mr T. Damu, Vice-President of the Taj group of hotels, said.
Though it is still early days, the summer season seems quite promising, he added.
The response from the Casino group of hotels was not much different.
"Young couples visiting the State has been on an upward spiral in the past couple of years'', Mr George Dominic, Executive Director of the Casino group of hotels told Business Line.
It is not just the age profile of the domestic tourists which is witnessing a major transformation, but the State of origin and occupational profile.
"We have been getting a lot of young couples from Karnataka in the past couple of years and their numbers have been growing,'' Mr Dominic said.
The couples drive down from Karnataka on a week-long holiday and spent time at the beach resorts, wildlife parks and backwater getaways of the State.
This trend seems to be catching up with couples from Hyderabad as well, and a large number of them seem to be IT professionals.
Though by sheer numbers visitors from Maharashtra and Gujarat lead among domestic tourists visiting the State, the neighbourhood visitors are fast catching up.
This year again, the trend seems to be no different.
The domestic tourists have started making their date with Kerala from April 1 onwards.
"Telephone, fax and e-mail messages have begun to pile up," sources in the hospitality industry said.
But unlike the foreign tourists season, the domestic traveller does not make plans much ahead of schedule, Mr Dominic said.
The coming monsoon season, also known as the Green Season, is beginning to look up.
"Monsoon is the season of ayurveda and rejuvenation therapy and we have equipped our properties to offer the best treatment and facilities,'' Mr Damu said.
The foreign visitors are also beginning to get enveloped in the monsoon magic and ayurvedic therapies.
"There has been tremendous interest from Europe, especially from Italy,'' Mr Dominic said.
But there are virtually no seats going in the international carriers for tourists visiting Kerala at this time of the year.
Moreover, this is also the season when emigrant Keralites make their annual sojourn home with their families - the season when international carriers from Europe don't have a seat to spare for the itinerant foreign visitor.
Despite these temporal and spatial handicaps, the domestic tourist season of Kerala has begun with a bang.
And the tourism industry is quite bullish that this will prove to be one of the best domestic tourist seasons in years.
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