Thiruvananthapuram, May 25 (IANS): Figures point out that Kerala tourism appears to have bounced back after the Covid pandemic as 3.8 million domestic tourists have arrived in the first quarter of 2022, marking an impressive growth of 72.48 per cent as compared with 2.2 million footfalls during the corresponding period in 2021, said Tourism Minister P.A. Mohamed Riyas.
Riyas also pointed out that going by the prevailing trend, Kerala tourism is set to attract record number of tourists this year on the strength of its globally-acclaimed assets, new products and initiatives like caravan tourism and by exploring the unexplored destinations across the state.
He said Ernakulam district registered the highest number of 811,426 domestic tourists, followed by Thiruvananthapuram (600,933), Idukki (511,947), Thrissur (358,052), and Wayanad (310,322).
Five districts -- Idukki, Malappuram, Kasaragod, Pathanamthitta and Wayanad -- registered the highest ever footfall since their formation.
On the ambitious project to explore the unexplored destinations, he said the government will soon announce a 'Destination Challenge' initiative in association with local self-government department (LSGD) to identify at least one destination under each LSG institution.
The LSGs will be the main beneficiary of this project.
"Tourism clubs will be formed in college campuses as youngsters can effectively work together as volunteers in keeping tourist assets well maintained," added Riyas.
As for foreign tourist arrivals, the number increased from 14,489 in the first quarter of 2021 to 43,547 during the corresponding period in the current year, notching a significant increase of 200 per cent. Thus, there was an increase of about 29,000 foreign tourist arrivals in Kerala during the three-month period.
The Tourism Department has also launched a WhatsApp chatbot 'Maya', which is a virtual tour guide.