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Tourism in Kerala: A Comprehensive Overview

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Tourism in Kerala is growing year-on-year amongst both domestic tourists and international tourists. But what is tourism in Kerala all about and why is it such big business for the Indian economy? Lets take a deeper look at the tourism industry in Kerala…

Tourism in Kerala 

Kerala is the beautiful southern state of India known as “God’s Own Country”. Kerala is one of the most popular tourist destinations in India, attracting millions of visitors each year with its serene backwaters, pristine beaches, lush green forests, and rich cultural heritage. This tiny state is blessed with an abundance of natural beauty, wildlife, and unique traditions that make it a must-visit destination for travellers from all over the world and making tourism in Kerala an important industry.

In this article about tourism in Kerala, we will explore some of the top tourist attractions here and provide tips on how to plan a memorable trip to this fascinating part of India. Whether you are a nature lover, history buff, or simply seeking a peaceful getaway, tourism in Kerala has something to offer everyone. So, let’s dive in and discover the wonders of tourism in Kerala!

The geography of Kerala

Tourism in Kerala

Kerala is a state in the southwestern region of India. It is situated on the Malabar Coast and is bordered by Karnataka to the north and northeast, Tamil Nadu to the east and south, and the Arabian Sea to the west. The state covers an area of 38,863 square kilometers and has a population of approximately 34 million people.

The success of tourism in Kerala is largely attributed to its geography. The geography of Kerala is characterised by its diverse landscapes, including mountains, hills, valleys, backwaters, and beaches. The Western Ghats, a mountain range that runs parallel to the coast, forms the eastern boundary of the state. The highest peak in Kerala, Anamudi, is located in the Western Ghats and stands at an elevation of 2,695 meters.

The coastal region of Kerala is dotted with backwaters, lagoons, and estuaries that are formed by the network of interconnected canals and lakes that run parallel to the Arabian Sea. The backwaters are a unique ecosystem that supports a diverse array of flora and fauna, including a variety of fish, birds, and aquatic plants.

The state also has a number of rivers, including the Periyar, the Bharathapuzha, and the Pamba. These rivers originate in the Western Ghats and flow westwards towards the Arabian Sea.

In addition to its natural features, Kerala is known for its rich cultural heritage and is home to a diverse population that includes Malayalis, Tamilians, Kannadigas, and other ethnic groups. The state is also renowned for its cuisine, which is known for its use of coconut, rice, and spices. Overall, the geography of Kerala plays a significant role in shaping the culture, economy, and way of life of the people who call it home.

The growth of tourism in Kerala

The tourism industry in Kerala

Kerala is a popular tourist destination in India, known for its beaches, backwaters, hill stations, and cultural heritage. Here are some statistics on the tourism industry in Kerala:

  1. In 2019, Kerala received 1.96 crore (19.6 million) domestic and foreign tourists, according to the Kerala Tourism Department.
  2. The total revenue generated from tourism in Kerala in 2019 was estimated to be around Rs. 45,010 crore (approximately $6.1 billion USD).
  3. The average length of stay for foreign tourists in Kerala is around 14 days, while domestic tourists stay for an average of 3-4 days.
  4. The most popular tourist destinations in Kerala are the backwaters of Alappuzha, the hill station of Munnar, the beaches of Kovalam, and the cultural city of Kochi.
  5. Tourism in Kerala provides employment to around 15.7% of the state’s population, with around 1.5 million people working directly or indirectly in the industry.

Why people travel to Kerala

Tourism in Kerala

Tourism in Kerala is relatively diverse and people travel to Kerala for a variety of reasons, including its natural beauty, cultural heritage, and unique experiences. Here are some of the main reasons why people travel to Kerala:

  1. Natural beauty: Kerala is known for its stunning natural beauty, including its backwaters, beaches, and lush green landscapes. The state is also home to several national parks and wildlife sanctuaries that offer visitors the chance to see a variety of flora and fauna.
  2. Ayurveda and wellness: Kerala is renowned for its traditional Ayurvedic treatments and wellness therapies, which attract visitors from all over the world. Ayurveda is an ancient system of medicine that uses natural herbs and remedies to promote health and wellbeing.
  3. Cultural heritage: Kerala has a rich cultural heritage that is evident in its art, architecture, music, dance, and festivals. Visitors can explore ancient temples, palaces, and museums to learn more about the state’s history and culture.
  4. Cuisine: Kerala is famous for its delicious cuisine, which features a variety of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes that are prepared with locally sourced ingredients and traditional spices.
  5. Adventure activities: Kerala offers a range of adventure activities, including trekking, rafting, kayaking, and paragliding. The state’s hilly terrain and scenic landscapes provide the perfect backdrop for outdoor activities.
  6. Beaches: Kerala has a long coastline with several beautiful beaches that are popular with tourists. Some of the most famous beaches in Kerala include Kovalam, Varkala, and Cherai.

The most popular types of tourism in Kerala are:

  1. Backwater tourism: Kerala’s backwaters, a network of interconnected canals, lagoons, and lakes, are a major tourist attraction. Visitors can take a houseboat ride or a canoe tour to explore the backwaters.
  2. Hill station tourism: Kerala has several hill stations, such as Munnar, Wayanad, and Thekkady, which are popular for their scenic beauty and pleasant weather.
  3. Beach tourism: Kerala has a long coastline and several beautiful beaches, such as Kovalam, Varkala, and Cherai, which are popular for water sports and beach activities.
  4. Wildlife tourism: Kerala has several wildlife sanctuaries and national parks, such as Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary and Silent Valley National Park, which are popular for wildlife safaris and nature walks.
  5. Ayurvedic tourism: Kerala is known for its traditional Ayurvedic treatments and therapies, which are popular among tourists seeking rejuvenation and wellness.
  6. Cultural tourism: Kerala has a rich cultural heritage, and tourists can explore the state’s art, music, and dance forms, such as Kathakali and Mohiniyattam, and visit historical monuments and museums.
  7. Adventure tourism: Kerala offers several adventure activities, such as trekking, camping, kayaking, and parasailing, which are popular among adventure enthusiasts.
  8. Eco-tourism: Kerala has several eco-tourism destinations, such as Gavi and Thenmala, which are popular for their eco-friendly activities and sustainable tourism practices.
Tourism in Kerala

Here are some of the most popular tourist attractions in Kerala that make tourism in Kerala such big business:

  1. Backwaters: The backwaters of Kerala are a network of interconnected canals, lagoons, and lakes that run parallel to the Arabian Sea. Visitors can take a houseboat ride through the backwaters to experience the serene and tranquil environment.
  2. Beaches: Kerala has several beautiful beaches along its long coastline, including Kovalam, Varkala, and Cherai. These beaches offer visitors the chance to relax, swim, and soak up the sun.
  3. Hill stations: Kerala has several hill stations that are popular with tourists, including Munnar, Wayanad, and Thekkady. These hill stations are known for their scenic beauty, tea plantations, and wildlife.
  4. Fort Kochi: Fort Kochi is a historic neighborhood in the city of Kochi that is known for its colonial architecture, art galleries, and spice markets. Visitors can also explore the famous Chinese fishing nets and enjoy the local cuisine.
  5. Kathakali: Kathakali is a traditional dance form that originated in Kerala and is known for its elaborate costumes and makeup. Visitors can watch Kathakali performances at various theaters and cultural centers.
  6. Ayurveda: erala is known for its traditional Ayurvedic treatments and wellness therapies. Visitors can experience Ayurvedic massages, therapies, and treatments at various Ayurveda centers and resorts.
  7. Wildlfe sanctuaries: Kerala has several wildlife sanctuaries and national parks, including Periyar National Park, Silent Valley National Park, and Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary. These sanctuaries offer visitors the chance to see a variety of animals and birds in their natural habitat.

What types of tourists travel to Kerala

Tourism in Kerala attracts a diverse range of tourists from different parts of India and around the world. Here are some of the types of tourists who travel to Kerala:

  1. Nature lovers: Kerala is known for its natural beauty, including its backwaters, beaches, hill stations, and wildlife sanctuaries. Nature lovers are drawn to Kerala’s serene and tranquil environment.
  2. Cultural enthusiasts: Kerala has a rich cultural heritage that is evident in its art, architecture, music, dance, and festivals. Cultural enthusiasts are drawn to Kerala’s temples, palaces, museums, and traditional performing arts.
  3. Wellness seekers: Kerala is renowned for its traditional Ayurvedic treatments and wellness therapies. Wellness seekers are drawn to Kerala’s Ayurvedic spas and resorts that offer a range of treatments and therapies.
  4. Adventure enthusiasts: Kerala offers a range of adventure activities, including trekking, rafting, kayaking, and paragliding. Adventure enthusiasts are drawn to Kerala’s hilly terrain and scenic landscapes that provide the perfect backdrop for outdoor activities.
  5. Family vacationers: Kerala is a popular destination for family vacations, with a range of activities and attractions that appeal to both children and adults. Family vacationers are drawn to Kerala’s beaches, backwaters, and wildlife sanctuaries.
  6. Honeymooners: Kerala is a popular destination for honeymooners, with its romantic backwaters, secluded beaches, and hill stations. Honeymooners are drawn to Kerala’s serene and romantic environment that provides the perfect setting for a memorable honeymoon.

Crime and safety in Kerala

Tourism in Kerala

Tourism in Kerala is generally considered a safe, with a low crime rate compared to other parts of India. However, like any other destination, it is important to take precautions to ensure your safety. Here is some information on crime and safety in Kerala:

  1. Petty crime: Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and theft, can occur in crowded areas such as markets and tourist attractions. Visitors should take care of their belongings and avoid carrying large amounts of cash.
  2. Road safety: Road accidents can occur in Kerala, particularly on narrow roads and in rural areas. Visitors should take care when traveling by road and avoid traveling at night.
  3. Water safety: Visitors should take care when swimming in the sea or backwaters, as strong currents can occur in certain areas. It is important to follow local safety guidelines and swim only in designated areas.
  4. Health and hygiene: Visitors should take precautions to avoid illnesses such as malaria and dengue fever, which are prevalent in some parts of Kerala. It is also important to practice good hygiene, including washing hands regularly and avoiding street food.
  5. Women’s safety: Kerala is considered a relatively safe state for women travelers, but it is important to take precautions such as avoiding traveling alone at night and dressing conservatively in public areas.

Overall, Kerala is considered a safe destination for tourists, but visitors should take precautions to ensure their safety. It is important to be aware of your surroundings, take care of your belongings, and follow local safety guidelines.

Required budget to visit Kerala

The required budget for a trip to Kerala will depend on a variety of factors such as the length of your stay, your travel style, and the activities and attractions you plan to visit. Here are some estimated costs to help you plan your trip:

Accommodation

The cost of accommodation in Kerala will vary depending on the type of accommodation you choose. Budget options such as hostels and guesthouses can cost around INR 500-1500 per night, while mid-range hotels can cost around INR 2000-5000 per night. Luxury resorts and hotels can cost upwards of INR 10,000 per night.

Food and drink

Kerala offers a range of food options at varying prices. Local street food and small restaurants can cost around INR 100-300 per meal, while mid-range restaurants can cost around INR 500-1000 per meal. Fine dining options can cost upwards of INR 2000 per meal. The cost of alcohol will vary depending on the type and location, with prices ranging from INR 100-500 per drink.

Transportation

The cost of transportation in Kerala will vary depending on the mode of transportation you choose. Local buses and trains are affordable, with fares starting at around INR 10-20. Taxis and private cars can be more expensive, with prices varying depending on the distance traveled.

Activities and attractions

The cost of activities and attractions in Kerala will vary depending on what you choose to do. Entry fees for museums and attractions can range from INR 50-500, while adventure activities such as trekking and rafting can cost upwards of INR 1000 per person.

Overall, a budget of INR 3000-5000 per day should be sufficient for a budget traveler to cover accommodation, food, and transportation costs in Kerala. Mid-range travelers should budget around INR 7000-10,000 per day, while luxury travelers should budget upwards of INR 15,000 per day. It is always a good idea to research and plan your trip in advance to ensure you have a realistic budget and are able to enjoy your trip without any financial stress.

General tips for visiting Kerala

Visiting India can be a daunting experience, so here are some general tips for visiting Kerala:

  1. Plan your itinerary in advance: Kerala offers a wide range of experiences, from backwater cruises to hill station treks. It is a good idea to plan your itinerary in advance to make the most of your visit.
  2. Pack appropriate clothing: Kerala is a tropical state with hot and humid weather throughout the year. Visitors should pack light and breathable clothing, including cotton and linen. It is also important to pack comfortable shoes, especially if you plan to do a lot of walking or trekking.
  3. Carry a mosquito repellent: Kerala is known for its lush greenery, which means mosquitoes can be prevalent in some areas. It is a good idea to carry a mosquito repellent with you to avoid mosquito bites.
  4. Try local cuisine: Kerala is known for its delicious cuisine, including seafood, appam, and Kerala-style biryani. Visitors should try the local cuisine for an authentic experience.
  5. Respect local customs and traditions: Kerala has a rich cultural heritage, and visitors should respect local customs and traditions. Dress modestly when visiting religious sites, and seek permission before taking photographs of people.
  6. Bargain when shopping: Bargaining is common in Kerala, especially when shopping at markets and street vendors. Visitors should not be afraid to negotiate the price and should be prepared to walk away if they are not satisfied with the price.
  7. Stay hydrated: Kerala’s hot and humid climate can be draining, so visitors should stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and other fluids.
  8. Respect nature: Kerala is known for its natural beauty, including backwaters, beaches, and hill stations. Visitors should respect nature by not littering and avoiding activities that can harm the environment.

Kerala offers a unique and memorable travel experience. Visitors should be open to new experiences, respectful of local customs, and take precautions to ensure their safety and comfort.

10 interesting facts about tourism in Kerala

Tourism in Kerala

Lets finish off this article about tourism in Kerala with some interesting facts:

  1. Kerala is known as “God’s Own Country” due to its natural beauty, diverse culture, and rich history.
  2. Kerala is the first state in India to have a 100% literacy rate, achieved through a combination of government initiatives and public participation.
  3. Kerala has a long tradition of Ayurvedic medicine, a system of holistic healing that dates back over 5000 years.
  4. The backwaters of Kerala are a unique ecosystem consisting of interconnected waterways, canals, and lagoons that support a diverse range of flora and fauna.
  5. Kerala is one of the few places in the world where you can see the traditional Chinese fishing nets, which were introduced by traders from China over 500 years ago.
  6. The traditional dance form of Kerala, called Kathakali, is known for its elaborate makeup, costumes, and facial expressions.
  7. Kerala has a rich tradition of martial arts, including Kalaripayattu, which is believed to be one of the oldest martial arts in the world
  8. The cuisine of Kerala is known for its use of coconut, spices, and seafood. Some popular dishes include appam, puttu, and fish curry.
  9. The state animal of Kerala is the Indian elephant, and the state bird is the great Indian hornbill.
  10. Kerala has the highest life expectancy in India, with an average life expectancy of 74 years. This is attributed to the state’s high literacy rate, access to healthcare, and focus on wellness and holistic living.

10 FAQs about tourism in Kerala

Here are 10 frequently asked questions about tourism in Kerala:

  1. What is the best time to visit Kerala?

The best time to visit Kerala is from October to February when the weather is cool and dry.

  1. What are the popular backwater destinations in Kerala?

The popular backwater destinations in Kerala are Alleppey, Kumarakom, and Kollam.

  1. What are the popular hill stations in Kerala?

The popular hill stations in Kerala are Munnar, Wayanad, and Vagamon.

  1. What are the popular wildlife sanctuaries and national parks in Kerala?

The popular wildlife sanctuaries and national parks in Kerala are Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, Silent Valley National Park, and Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary.

  1. What is Ayurveda, and where can I experience it in Kerala?

Ayurveda is a traditional Indian system of medicine that uses natural herbs and remedies for healing. Kerala is known for its Ayurvedic treatments, and several resorts and spas offer Ayurvedic massages and treatments.

  1. What are the popular beach destinations in Kerala?

The popular beach destinations in Kerala are Kovalam, Varkala, and Cherai.

  1. What are the popular cultural festivals in Kerala?

The popular cultural festivals in Kerala are Onam, Vishu, and Thrissur Pooram.

  1. What are the popular adventure activities in Kerala?

The popular adventure activities in Kerala are trekking, camping, water sports, and wildlife safaris.

  1. What is the cuisine of Kerala, and what are the popular dishes?

The cuisine of Kerala is known for its use of coconut, spices, and seafood. Some popular dishes are appam, Kerala-style biryani, and fish curry.

  1. Is it safe for solo travelers to visit Kerala?

Kerala is generally considered a safe state for tourists, including solo travellers. However, visitors should take precautions to ensure their safety and avoid traveling alone at night.

Tourism in Kerala- To conclude

As you can see, tourism in Kerala is big business. Tourism in Kerala facilitate different types of tourism, encourages different types of tourists and offer the country a way to make money. If you are planning a trip to Kerala or you simply wanted to learn more about this destination, I hope that you have found this article about tourism in Kerala helpful. Here are some more articles that I am sure you will love too:

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