Types of Tourism in Kerala
Introduction to Tourism in Kerala
Tourism is now the largest industry in the world by virtually any economic measure including gross output, employment, capital investment and tax contributions. Governments throughout the world are increasingly recognizing the importance of tourism and are formulating policies conducive for the development and promotion of tourism for the socio-economic development of the people and conservation of heritage and environment.
Tourism for development
In recent times tourism has emerged as one of the few economic alternatives to develop the economy of Kerala state . It has been recognized as an important sector for the development on account of its potential for generating income and employment. In the context of poor prospects of the manufacturing sector and the severe threats facing agricultural and traditional sectors and the uncertainties facing expatriate employment, tourism in the state is considered as one of the sectors which can drive Kerala economy to take the state to the pinnacle of socio-economic development.
Kerala Tourism industry in big demand
Kerala is the fastest growing tourist destination in the country with over 4.00 lakhs international and over 60.00 lakhs domestic tourist arrivals per year. The tourism sector in the state attracts about 1000 crores of investment per year and provides employment to over 10.00 lakhs persons. The income to the state from tourism was in the order of Rs. 7700 crores during the year 2005 with a foreign exchange earning of Rs. 1550 crores.
Even though the state has about 50,000 rooms for tourist accommodation in different categories, there are only less than 10,000 rooms of good quality. Considering the potential and demand, it is estimated that there is a gap of about 5,000 quality rooms at present. The additional room requirement for the next 5 years will be another 10,000 rooms.
If we take the average investment requirement per room for developing a hotel/resort as Rs. 20.00 lakhs per room, the investment requirement in the accommodation sector for the next 5 years will be in the order of Rs. 3,000 crores which is very ambitious. It is necessary to find out ways and means of achieving the target in a cheaper way without compromising on the quality.
Increase in homestays
Kerala has large numbers of well constructed houses in which there are unused rooms for converting into tourist accommodation with minimal improvements including estate bungalows, heritage homes, farm houses, vacant houses owned by NRIs and residents, etc. Already many families are coming forward to share their homes with tourists as home stays and there are some excellent home stays offered to the tourists in the state.
Travel for rejuvenation
Also, there is increasing recognition of the significant shift away from the predominance of the traditional sun, sand and sea holiday towards more experiential vacations. John King (2002, Journal of Vacation marketing, Vol 8, No. 2,pp 105-108) argues that travel is increasingly about ‘experiences, fulfillment and rejuvenation’ rather than about ‘places and things’.
Fortunately Kerala is ideally placed for offering the experiential vacations to the visitors by maintaining its unique identity. The home stays can offer the unique experience a tourist expects by sharing the traditions and its values and in turn, earn sustained additional income and employment to the local people. Not only do the hosts get to know about their guests,but it also works out vice-versa.