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Kerala halves entry fees for senior citizens to tourist destinations

- June 6, 2022

Dileep V Kumar/ Thiruvananthapuram/June 6

Lakhs of senior citizens in the state could now avail 50 percent discount on entry fees to tourist destinations under the Tourism Department. The decision to halve the price holds much significance as Kerala has the highest percentage of the elderly population in the country. The state had earlier made 70 of its destinations elderly-friendly.

“It was Kozhikode-based Human Rights Forum which made such a demand before the Assembly Committee on the Welfare of Senior Citizens 2016-19. Based on that, the Assembly secretary demanded the tourism director for follow-up action,” said an officer with the Tourism Department.

The officer further added, “In 2019 and 2020 the director received two letters from the secretary. Then on April 2022, the director gave in-principle approval for giving 50 percent discount to senior citizens at tourist destinations.”

Meanwhile, government sources said that the decision to halve the entry fees for senior citizens is just a continuation of the state’s care for senior citizens.

“The Economic Review 2021 itself highlighted that the elderly population of the state is steadily increasing and the problems faced by this expanding group need to be addressed through more innovative and sustainable approaches. This significant decision will help the elderly to explore and thereby enhance their mental health,” said the source.

As per the 2011 census, Ernakulam District has the highest number of people in the elderly group of 60 and above. The percentage of the population in the age group 60 years and above to the total population was 12.6 for Kerala against the national average of 8 percent.

At the same time, the tourism department is formulating many plans to revive the tourism sector which suffered a huge blow following the Covid-19 pandemic. As per Economic Review 2021, there is a significant fall in foreign tourist arrival and domestic tourist arrival. Also, the statistics on the distribution of domestic tourist visits in Kerala by State of origin in 2020 reveal that about 73.09 percent originated within the state.