Kerala government is aiming for a 10-12 per cent growth in domestic and foreign tourist arrivals and exploring new source markets like East Asia and Russia for tourism opportunities.
"Last year has been a difficult year for the tourism industry and we achieved a flat or marginal growth compared to 2014. This year and in 2017, we are expecting double digit growth (about 10-12 per cent) in tourist arrivals," Kerala Tourism Deputy Director Nandakumar K P told PTI here.
In 2015, as many as 7,75,390 foreign tourists visited Kerala from January-October, a growth of 6.60 per cent. Last year, 76,71,277 domestic tourists visited the southern state from January August, a growth of 7.40 per cent, according to government data.
The state, which is facing competition from Sri Lanka and South Asian countries, is planning to attract tourists by branding 'Kerala: the home of Ayurveda'.
"We are exploring new markets like Russia, East Asia, China and Japan, besides focusing on strengthening the traditional markets like the European Union and the US. For wooing tourists, we have branded the state as 'Kerala: the home of Ayurveda'.
"We decided for branding because we are facing a lot of competition from Sri Lanka and South Asian markets.
Moreover, we are combining wellness with sightseeing," he said.
Meanwhile, Kerala is signing an agreement with Saint Petersburg in Russia for joint promotion this week.
"To increase our visibility and help increase foot print, we decided to do joint promotions with other states in the country as well as foreign destinations. We are planning to sign an MoU with Saint Petersburg this week. We are looking at similar opportunities and may sign many such MoUs in future," he said.