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Tourism is one of the fast growing industry in the world. When considering India, undoubtedly there is an unlimited scope of tourism development in the South Indian state of Kerala which would definitely bring up the economic growth of the country. There is a high degree of widening the service in this industry with the help of technology and infrastructure in connection with the globalisation process. I am going to examine the scope and opportunity of developing the tourism in Kerala, focusing and exploring its natural resources and cultural inheritance and the very traditional nature of simplicity and service.
In order to promote the tourism industry there must be a quality service everywhere from the point of traveller's arrival to their departure. Every tourist should feel homely and comfortably and would feel that they got some exotic and exited experience in their life to keep for their rest of the life. The people, culture, custom and etiquette, all need to be watched and monitored by the authority so that every tourist will get the maximum comfort and enjoy their time in Kerala. There should be different and skilled human resource to cater the variety of their need in time with good quality. To unravel scope of the tourism and enjoy the benefit, there must be suitable approach and attitude form the government to address the issues involved in the tourism industry. Kerala is bestowed with its beauty of nature and heritage. If it is maintained and measures are taken to present Kerala in a grand appearance, then it would bring an unbelievable future.
To help and promote the tourism and other related activities, the national policies on tourism had been introduced in 2002.
The travel and tourism sector faces a lot of challenges. The terrorists give a big threat to the industry globally. After September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre, Indo-Pak Boarder tension, 26/11 Mumbai terrorist attack and threat to the different region in India, there is a considerable negative growth of the influx of tourists in India.
There is quality tourism with Kochi centred resort as the most popular. Kerala is rich in culture with full of colourful and unique art. It is said to be 'God's own Country' and it is the one of the finest tourist spot in the world. Kerala has won the popularity as a tourist spot and became one of the important tourist destinations in the world.
Kerala is outstanding for its beaches, backwaters, warm weather, hill stations, waterfalls, wild life and Ayurveda (an indigenous branch of health care and herbal treatment). Variety of year round festivals and the diversity of flora and fauna make Kerala a unique destination.
The tourism in Kerala contributes a major role in the growth of the economy that empowers and generates the job opportunity and development of infrastructure. There is an incredible chance to develop and integrate tourism circuits based on India's civilization, heritage and culture in association with private sector and other agencies.
The tourism industry in Kerala is focusing in delivering a high quality service to its guests. Kerala Tourism Development Corporation(KTDC), District Tourism Promotion Council, Bekal tourism Development Corporation(BTDC), Local Government and Private sector are the major active organisers of the Tourism in Kerala.
Kerala has got cosy and comfortable guest houses and tourist homes which are run by the government and the private parities. The accommodation for tourists are provided in hotels, resorts etc according to their interests. Star hotels are available at most of the towns in Kerala and the service offered is excellent and they are worth for its value. Kerala is always keeping its heritage and culture which is famous for its hospitality. There are well trained and skilled tourist guide who are trusted and presenting a valuable job for the tourists.
Kerala Tourism Development Corporation is keen at dealing with the promotion of tourism with its innovative strategies of management.
Participation in Trade fairs
As Kerala, a marvellous Tourist Destination which can offer a lot to the travellers to their mind and body, a world class tourism destination , the Department of Tourism want to promote the industry in a large scale focusing on the service quality and the infrastructure related to its function in every aspects. The Department of Tourism participated in national and international trade meets along with private sector and organised road shows and events.
Kerala has been branded as one of the most famous destination in the travel and tourism industry. There is a wide scope of marketing and all possible strategies are being taken to promote the tourism in kerala. A great deal of this is due to proactive marketing. The experts are keen at developing its physical, ecological, cultural and social structure as a whole. The Tourism Development Corporation is engaging in constant reviewing and taking ample decision and taking appropriate policies and procedures for its overall developments.
The infrastructure is one of the unavoidable elements which influence or affect the tourism industry .The infrastructure promote the tourists attraction a lot. Majority of the tourists are seeking for a hassle free travel and mind free leisure time with all the facilities they wish to have. If travellers are facing difficulties in their travel and accommodation, there should be all the things need to be in hand. The availability of quality infrastructure is very critical in the tourism system. The Tourism industry in Kerala promotes a lot of activities which are interesting to the tourists. All activities are in relationship with the building up of world class tourism infrastructure facilities like tourism accommodation, transportation facilities, proper water system and lighting system etc. Apart from these, there must be a systematic network to make a move on the tourist in a comfort based manner. There should be appropriate information at all the information point where people can access information about everything under the sun in Kerala. It is essential to have the tourists to guide to their destinations and needs.
ROAD SHOWS IN NEW MARKETS
The Tourism Development in Kerala is keenly interested in promoting the tourism by finding new ways to promote it and it is adapting new strategies and policies. There are so many series of events that are being carried out to attract more tourists through Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Events like MICE destination etc.
There is a great deal of importance in locating the destination Kerala for its specific features of beautiful Beaches, Backwaters, unique and indigenous Ayurveda , Wildlife , Hill stations and cuisines. There are a variety of rare highly productive products like village tourism, Heritage tourism, Eco tourism and medical tourism.
New Products Development
Kerala has got a lot of high profile products which are uncommon and most of the tourists seek and would like to experience its rarity. Kerala has got to offer Medical tourism and a lot in the Health care sector to attract tourists.
It is a fantastic destination for the people who are interested in bird watch for Avian Tourists.
In addition to the backwater exploring events, Kerala has got to offer a lot in Avian tourism to attract the birdwatchers from across the globe. There are large varieties of treat for the visitors waiting in Kerala. The plantation based tourism is highly promoted. Kerala is famous for its ancient buildings and tree houses which are generally a typical house which is built on the top of the tree named ''Erumadam''.
'Kalamandalam' an organisation which is rich in its own traditional and very original 'kadhakali' which is a typical dance which is performed only in the State of Kerala which attracts tourists with its own colourful rich classic dance mainly based on expressions.
Eco - Tourism
Kerala is showing keen interests in the tourism process and activities which is more or less given priority to its environment. It is aiming at conducting the tourism activity in relation with the ecological condition of the region and it has been introduced much advanced strategies for developing the concept of Eco-Tourism in the recent times. The basic norm is to deal with 'green', conservation, preservation and concern with its sustainability. As the word Eco stands for the ecology it has a strong link and relation between living organism and their environments, thus linking tourism with the environment and it is directly linked with the tourism development and environment.
Increasingly, ecotourism is being defined as a nature oriented travel that promotes conservation and resource protection and also adds to the local economy. Thenmala and Wayand are good examples for the major projects undertaken under eco tourism.
The Thenmala project is the one of the very pioneering planned eco tourism which is managed by the country. The Department of Forest help the tourism department to give the infrastructure facilities to promote these activities in connection with the eco tourism Forest Department, the infrastructure facilities have been created at Palaruvi. The management of tourists to the falls is done through the Vana Samrakshana Samithy,(Organisation for conservation of Forest). The eco tourism is the different approach and recent introduction in the tourism industry in Kerala .The project is promoting tourism at the Periyar Tiger Reserve at Thekkady in Kerala. The Ministry of Environment is concentrating and proposing a lot of project to develop the eco tourism at Periyar.
India Eco development programme 'Tiger Trail' project was launched at Wildlife Sanctuary. The project focused on conservation of fauna and flora of the area where the local inhabitancies were given dominant role to monitor the activities which could lead to protect its wild life and the flora. The deep knowledge of the locals were used to make use to protect the eco system. Besides the Tiger Trail, other ecotourism products of the Periyar Tiger Reserve are; Bamboo Rafting, Day Trekking Programme, Tribal Heritage, and Bamboo Grove, Jungle Inn and Wild adventures.
Eco tourism is a modern concept in the tourism industry where the explorers take a journey to the nature and enjoy it basically without disturbing the nature through any activities. There is a wide scope on this sector where the industry can invest comparatively less in order to explore the system far and wide. The local people of the immediate environment are involved directly and benefited from these activities and can contribute to this. Their knowledge can be utilised for the educational purpose too.
Training and Developments
Kerala Tourism Development Corporation has started a lot of different training programmes which are aimed at increasing the quality of service in connection with the tourism activities. As communication is a strong key to open the minds and the truth, and English being as an international language, special training were given to the people who are operating and dealing with the international clients .The people who are working in hotel and tourism sector were taught Spoken English and training the basic etiquette of wishing and making the guests happy and comfortable. The increasing potential and the scope inspire the private investment in a large scale in the tourism sector in order to generate more income. The GDP country has been increased by 10.69% including multiplier effect.
As the Hotel and tourism industry need to deal with direct contact with Human being, there is a great deal of Human Resources are needed for the efficient and productive service in this industry. So is a great opportunity for the people to get employments in Kerala. There is 11.07% of increase in the total employment in the travel and tourism sector. The different sources are concentrating to help provide expertise to deal with the most demanding jobs.
Back Water Tourism in Kerala
The backwaters of Kerala are the most serene and salubrious tourist attraction. It attributes in a great deal to the 'Gods Own Country' and have given it the sobriquet "God's Own Country". It is said to be the fifty must see places in the world (National Geographic Travel).
The house boats (Kettuvalloms), lakes and backwater and its associated festivals and events make Kerala as an outstanding tourist spot on the globe. The tourism in Kerala generates employment and income in various ways.
The enchanting beauty and exciting events in Kerala at the region where backwaters would be a marvellous treat for anyone who enjoys the nature and the art of travelling .The cruising in house boat with all the class facilities with indigenous cuisine will leave a legacy in the tourists mind. It is quite rejuvenating and relaxing for their body and mind.
The backwaters in Alappuzha District is the most beautiful location the tourist plunge in to explore the nature by cruising in house boats. There are lot of lakes which treats the tourists with most courteous charms. The Nehru Trophy Boat race is one of the important events which attract the tourists. There is every thing the traveller seeking to gather, the beauty, and hassles free life ,calmness ,serenity , traditional oil massage , Ayurvedic treatments etc.
Kerala Backwaters & Destinations
The travellers would be thrilled with the Kerala's most precious treasure, the backwaters. The backwaters are located mainly in the region of the districts Allappuzha, Kotttayam, Trivandurm, Kollam and Kozhikode.
The beautiful canals and rivers embellished with the palm trees and the typical life style of the villagers would be a definite treat for every tourists. The Chinese fishing net is a spectacular thing which is still used by the fisherman. There is popular boat cruise operating between Alappuzha and Kollam .The tourist would be thrilled by the captivating beauty of the serene, warm and bright rejuvenating freshness. The very nature of Kuttanadu is an icon of simplicity of life and will be an amazing experience to the tourists. The vast area of paddy field would be definitely a feast for their eyes.
The backwaters have a network of forty four rivers, lagoons and lakes in Kerala . There are 29major lakes on the backwaters and is stretched over a total expanse of 1500 kms. Being the most prominent backwater resource in Alleppy, there are more facilities and infrastructure developed by the Government as well as the private sector .To explore the immediate ambience of the very village of Kuttanadu which has ramification of beautiful rivers and canals every nook and cranny of its land. The greenery, culture, cuisine and the custom would be rare and leave the tourist with a indelible memory of the 'God's own Country'.
According to the WTTC, tourism accounted for 13.6 per cent of global GDP, 14.0 per cent of the total world exports and 11.4 per cent of global employment in the year 2008. In 2009, the travel and tourism generates 248 million direct and indirect jobs worldwide, accounting for 10.8 percent of global employment, and contribute up to 12.4 per cent of global GDP .In 2007 there were 76.1 million job generated in travel and tourism industries and this is 2.7% of total employment .It is believed that it would increase by 2.8% and there will 86.6million jobs would be created by 2017 in the travel and tourism sector. It is estimated world travellers will spend over US$ 7,864.3 billion as per estimates of WTTC for year 2007.According to the same estimate; the global travel and tourism activity is expected to increase by 4.7 per cent between 2009 and 2016.
Indian Tourism Industry
The tourism industry is growing at an incredible speed .In the next 5 to 10 years it is expected to generate an income $89.9billion (World Travel and Tourism Council).
The reason for the splendid growth is due to the increase in travellers confidence and expecting GDP over 8% for the upcoming years.
The report has also cited that the growth in number of arrival of tourists in India has ensured a bright year ahead for the tourism industry. The steady inflow of foreign tourists witnessed in the last two decades is due to a number of factors. The vivid Indian culture is imperative in attracting foreign tourists from around the globe to India. The splendid beauty of the virgin countryside and the matchless monuments lures the leisure tourists to the holy land. Moreover the promotion campaigns like "Incredible India" has made India 'Global' and helped in boosting the tourism industry of the country. There has been a remarkable growth in the recent years in foreign tourist arrivals to India due to the various efforts made by the Ministry, India's campaign in overseas markets. Incredible India is a multi-pronged promotional campaign launched by the Ministry in order to position the country as a preferred tourist destination for the travellers the world over. As a result of all such efforts, India's share in international tourist arrivals, which was 0.49 per cent in 2005, has increased to 0.65 per cent during 2009. The foreign tourist arrivals has increased by about 65 per cent from a level of 3.92 million in 2005 to 5.40 million in 2008. In the year 2009, it has risen to 5.90million, registering an impressive increase of around 13 per cent. Similarly, the foreign exchange earnings from tourism have also shown a phenomenal growth from US$ 6569.34 million in 2006 to US$ 7407.82 million in 2007, achieving an increase of 14.6 per cent.
PESTEL analysis of the macro-environment
There are many factors in the macro-environment that will affect and influence the operation and functioning of tourism industry. The government should address the issues involving legality of the operation system and strategies:
- Political factors. These refer to government policy such as the degree of intervention in the economy. The policies and procedures of the tourism industry monitored by the government .There will be always debatable issues between the political parties .So is one of the deciding factors whether there is a strong political party leading government to take strong decision in favour of the development of the tourism industry.
- Economic factors. These include interest rates, taxation changes, economic growth, inflation and exchange rates. The economic status of the country would affect the tourist.
- Social factors. Changes in social trends can be a major issue in the tourism industry .The social environment should be appealing and amicable where the tourist wants to get satisfied with their need as presumably the happiness is the ultimate demand.
- Technological factors: The new technologies like information technology have an important role in the promotion of the tourism industry. Online information online booking of the hotel and the boats or any other event which could possibly attract the tourist.
- Environmental factors: Environmental factors include the weather and climate change. Changes in temperature can impact tourism. With major climate changes occurring due to global warming and with greater environmental awareness this external factor is becoming a significant issue for firms to consider.
- Legal factors: Certain pertaining stringent rules may obstruct the influx of tourist. The common legal aspect of the country might be an inhibition for the tourist to coup with. So it is important for the decision makers to make laws in favour of promoting the tourism industry.
The evaluation of tourism industry unravels the truth that there is a great and incredible potential to explore in tourism industry in business oriented way. The tourism industry would definitely bring up with a considerable income and generate a large amount of employment in the country. The unique product of kuttanadu and its backwaters promising the tourist to satisfy their need with its authentic presentation of houseboat ''kettuvallam''. The industry is influenced by different elements in the macro environment. The sustainable development is definitely controlled of affected by these factors. There is lot of demerit which should be addressed in view of the hosts perspectives. The PESTEL factors influence the industry, there are recent issues emerged to the people of the kuttanadu with the waste products dumped by the tourists which would damage the environment and it could bring a server pollution to the environment. The use of plastic utensils and other equipment will affect the environment. The plastic products wastage will not disintegrate in the soil, it will destroy the environment. To monitor these factors the model of Eco-tourism should be promoted more emphatically. The tourists are encouraged to have the Kerala cuisine on the banana leaves as the natives do and the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation is promoting this effort.
The tourism industry has got tremendous potential to explore.
The private sector and the government sector are equally interested in investing in the growing industry. The extra ordinary and unique features of the event and nature of the place has got an incredible opportunity to promise to the people of Kerala and the travellers seeking for the peace of mind and body. The culture, heritage, typical arts and geographical features contribute a lot to the tourism industry. More than ever important element is the human resource and the very famous-the epoch making hospitality of the State is making the tourist so happy and excited and once they visit, they would come back with thousands. All the virtues lies with the God's own Country.
- R Harris,T Griffins, P Williams., 2002 Sustainable tourism a global perspective 2nd edition, Elsevier Science Ltd.
- C Cooper, J Feltcher, A Fyall, D Gilbert, S Wanhill., 2008 Tourism principles and practices 4th edition, Prentice hall.
- http://www.bharatonline.com/kerala-backwater- tours/index.html