18 per cent dip in tourists to Kerala, says Union Minister
Thiruvananthapuram, Jan 14 (PTI): Kerala has been at
the receiving end after the floods and lost around 18 per cent
of the tourists the state used to receive earlier, Minister of
State (independent charge) for Tourism Alphons Kannanthanam
He told reporters here that as a Minister and a
Keralite, he was not happy with ranking of the state in the
tourism sector of the country.
Kannathanam said Prime Minister Narendra Modi would
on January 15 inaugurate a tourism project related to the
Padmanabhaswami temple here, under the spiritual circuit theme
of the swadesh darshan project.
The project of the Centre was to develop the basic
facilities in and around the religious institutions across the
Swadesh darshan links at least three major tourists
destinations of the country.
There are 77 such projects and over Rs 6,300 crore
has been sanctioned, he said.
Kannathanam also said 60 per cent of Indian tourists
were attracted towards spiritual tourism.
"That's why we are developing the regions around the
religious institutions. Under this scheme we have sanctioned
75.88 crore for Padmanabhaswami temple and over 95 per cent
work has been completed," the minister said.
He also said the state was set to receive tourists
and the industry was ready after the August deluge.
"I heard that according to preliminary reports,
Kerala has been receiving 18 per cent less tourists after the
floods. This is even as we are ready to receive them after the
floods. People outside still think that we are yet to get
ready," he said.
The minister also said his ministry was concentrating
on attracting tourists from large markets across the globe.
"We are concentrating on capturing the large markets
across the globe - like China. Last year, 144 million people
from China went out of that country. We got only two lakh of
that crowd. We need to re-route at least 10 per cent of
Chinese tourists to our country in the next few years," he
Kannathanam rubbished the earlier claim of state
ministers that only Rs 18 crore was sacntioned by the Centre
for the development of Sabarimala and said the rest would be
given only after receiving the utilisation report of the first
"The first installment of around Rs 18 crore was
given and the next installment would be alloted when the
government submits the utilisation report and receipt for the
first installment," he said.