Thiruvananthapuram: The global meltdown has significantly brought down the number of visitors from abroad to God’s own country, prompting the government to now focus more on the domestic market.
The growth rate of foreign visitors to ‘God’s own country’ fell to 16.11% in 2008, against an impressive 20.37% growth recorded the previous year, figures furnished in the state Assembly by tourism minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan showed today.
In number terms, 5,98,929 foreign tourist arrived in Kerala in 2008 against 5,15,808 from May to December the previous year. Between 2006 and 2007, there was a significant increase in foreign visitors from 2,41,185 to 5,15,808.
A silver lining, however, was that the growth rate of domestic tourists to the state had steadily been going up from 4.99% in 2006 to 14.28% in 2008.
Seeking to overcome the slow down to a certain extent, the state tourism department planned to launch a campaign called ‘Visit Kerala 2009´ from April to lure domestic tourists in a big way, he said.
As part of the campaign road shows and consumer fairs would be organised in various parts of the country and special packages would be offered.