As the spectacle of climate change takes the centre stage, the concept of monsoon tourism is struggling to stay afloat in the backwater landscape of Kottayam.
Kumarakom and its neighbouring villages, which arethe favourite monsoon destination in the State, have generated a lukewarm response even after three weeks into the season. Stakeholders in the sector are now pinning their hopes on the projected spike in tourist arrivals from Arab countries by the second half of next month.
“Hotels in the middle-segment have managed to stay afloat with a handful of weddings and business in the MICE (meetings, incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) segment. For the top-end properties, however, the season has proved to be an extension of a lean patch that began in the summer,” said K. Arun Kumar, secretary, the Chamber of Vembanad Hotels and Resorts (CVHR).
A lion’s share of the current flow of tourists to the villages here, according to him, is from North India. “But the business during monsoon typically depends on foreign guests, who regard the mid-land villages as the most immersive destination to experience the rains,” he added.
The Responsible Tourism Mission, as in every season, has rolled out various packages for the guests to experience the rains. “We have received a few bookings and an encouraging number of inquiries are coming in. The arrival of guests is expected to improve further in a few weeks from now,” said K. Rupesh Kumar, coordinator, RT Mission Kerala.
Tourism department sources, however, are of the view that tourism during the monsoon has gradually lost its momentum in the region since 2018. “June and July are no longer the months that stand out for tourism in Kerala. The mega floods that year served as a deal-breaker while the late onset of monsoon in the following years and the pandemic have all added to this trend,’’ explained an official.
He also pointed to a need to reinforce the image of Kerala as the best rainy destination and improve its visibility in overseas tourism fairs. “Tourism marketing, as far as Kerala is concerned, is now largely limited to some digital ads and stakeholder meetings. However, there exists a huge gap between the ideas being discussed and real action on the ground to draw back the tourists’’, added the official.