Steni Simon/ Thiruvananthapuram
Monsoon is a time when tourists from across the country and abroad plan vacations with their family and friends to stay at a beautiful, cozy place and watch the rainfall. Kerala and Karnataka are two such states most preferred by tourists during the monsoon season. However, this year, monsoon tourism has had a slow start in Kerala owing to flash floods at different parts of the country leading to tourists avoiding travel when compared to previous years.
Alappuzha, which is also known as ‘Venice of East’ is one of the most preferred monsoon tourism destinations with its splendid backwaters and beaches. Although the monsoon season is underway, the tourist footfall is less this year. Vinod V, president of All Kerala Houseboats Owners Association said, “Usually, the months of June and July are considered off-season for tourism but for the past two years we have been getting domestic tourists in June. But, this year, the bookings are less and it is far below our expectations. One of the reasons is the flash floods which has prevented the tourists from travelling to places having rainfall. There is a footfall in the number of tourists from Russia and the UK as well due to recession.”
The stakeholders say that tourism season begins with the Nehru Trophy Boat race which attracts both the domestic and foreign tourists every year. “The 2018 floods and the pandemic had a drastic effect on the houseboat industry and we incurred a huge loss since the boat race couldn’t be held. However, this year many tourists made bookings owing to the boat race,” said Vinod.
Meanwhile, Wayanad is seeing a good footfall of tourists as the Wayanad district administration has come out with a slew of activities. This includes ‘Splash’, a trade fair which is being organised and features activities like monsoon trekking, kayaking, monsoon marathon, etc.
Ecotourism destinations like Thenmala, located about 70kms from Thiruvananthapuram, is also a sought-after destination by tourists during the months of June, July and August. “Though Thenmala is not a monsoon destination for tourists, we are getting a positive response from the tourists this year. The major attractions, however, during monsoon are the Palaruvi waterfalls and Kutralam waterfalls bordering the Kollam district which are a sight to behold,” says Manoj Kumar, project executive, Thenmala Ecotourism Promotion Society.
Tourist bus operators also highlight that there is an increase in bookings, both of domestic and foreign tourists this season. Nizam A, owner of ANM Tours and Travels Private Limited from Thiruvananthapuram said, “The bookings are full and we are experiencing a shortage of vehicles. Tourists prefer to travel to Wayanad, Munnar and Kovalam and are opting for the best resort experience. Unlike previous years where adventure tourism was popular, resort tourism is seeing an increase this year.”