With the turbulent market conditions in European Union and US, Kerala’s tourism sector is hoping to repeat the stability it witnessed in 2010 after recovering from 2008 financial crisis. According to travel and hotel operators in the main tourist destinations of Kerala, tourist bookings are yet to pick up in the state, even though the season started effective 1 October. The state’s stakeholders have, in fact, witnessed 20-25% dip in booking from international source markets for hotels, vehicles and luxury boats.
“Indications are that we are in for a rather bleak year,” said a resort-owner in Alappuzha who operates eight luxury houseboats and a medium-class resort. “The last season last had started for me with a booking rate of 180% but this year it is less than 70% so far. My contacts in Europe are almost certain that there could be a 20% dip this season,” he said.
According to sources in the Kerala Travel Mart Society (KTMS), there is reluctance on the part of tourists from Europe – the state’s largest source market. “The main reason is their anxieties about a possible recession, loud signs of which are said to be already visible throughout Europe,” a KTMS source told the Daily Pioneer.
Fear among Europeans about the possibility of yet another recession would impact badly on the plans of the Department of Tourism which had set a target of 30% revenue growth compared to 2010. The state had earned INR17,348 crore last year, comparted to INR13,231 crore in 2009.