'Kerala Tourism to benefit from weak rupee'

Last Updated: Sat, Sep 07, 2013 20:03 hrs

Thiruvananthapuram, Sep 7 (IANS) The tourism department in Kerala is expected to reap benefits on account of the fall in the value of the rupee, State Tourism Minister A.P. Anilkumar told reporters here Saturday.

"In the previous calendar year Kerala tourist arrivals saw a seven percent growth and a record 18 million people visited the state," he said.

"With the weakening of rupee and a fresh tourism season on the anvil, it's quite certain that those in the tourism business here will benefit," Anilkumar said.

Kerala attracted 789,698 foreign tourists in 2012 while foreign exchange earnings touched Rs.4,548 crore (Over $650 million).

"Even though there are no regulations in place - to regulate pricing - we are certain that the resort owners won't jack up the tariffs to make more money," said Anilkumar.

The new tourism season in the state begins by the end of September and peaks in December before tapering off in February.

"The introduction of tourist visa-on-arrival facility at Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi airports from last month will boost the tourism industry," said the minister.

The visa-on-arrival facility is currently available to citizens of 11 countries -- Cambodia, Finland, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Luxembourg, Myanmar, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam.

"These are countries from where there is a good potential for people to come here. We will be conducting promotions and road shows in these countries," said Anilkumar.

He said the tourism department was all set for this month's Onam festivities and Rs.2.20 crore had been earmarked for the cultural events.

"The event opens on Sep 14 and ends with the customary pageantry procession here on Sep 20. We expect a good number of tourists during this period," the minister said.

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