Thiruvananthapuram:Tourist arrivals from Europe have registered a remarkable 4.8 per cent increase in 'God's Own Country' Kerala during the year till October despite the Eurozone recovery losing steam.A total of 4,20,247 European travellers arrived in the state between January and October this year as against 4,01,063 during the whole of last year amid many West European countries struggling to protect their economies in the aftermath of the Greek debt crisis and the downturn in China, an official release said today."Europe remains the number one traditional market for Kerala while we have been able to create strong markets in several countries abroad along with finding new ones," state Tourism Minister AP Anilkumar said in the release."This is evident from the fact that more number of tourists from European countries have visited our state so far this year compared to last year in spite of their economies encountering hurdles in a full recovery," he said.More tourists continued to arrive in Kerala last year even from countries like Italy, Finland, the Netherlands, Portugal and Germany, whose less than expected economic growth is worrying financial analysts."The tourism industry in our state, which has been built over the last many decades by the strong commitment of the governments, the participation of the common people and the lasting will of the private sector, will always strive harder to achieve higher growth," the Minister said.
The marketing campaign by Kerala Tourism over the years to create a spread of strong markets while continuing to explore new markets has significantly contributed to the situation where there was no over dependence on any particular country.As per the statistics pertaining to this year, arrivals from Europe showed an overall increase across the continent with United Kingdom, the state's number one market, accounting for 1,25,795 tourists this year as against 1,19,605 in the whole of last year, it said The number of tourists who visited the state from France and Germany stood at 75,216 and 61,962 respectively till October compared to 73,368 and 59,225 last year.From Italy, one of the countries affected by sluggish economic recovery, 20,489 tourists have visited the state up to October against 19,740 last year. Even from countries like Spain, severely affected by the financial meltdown, the number of visitors to the state so far this year has been more than last year's, at 9,912 compared to 9,411 in 2014, the release said.Traditional attractions like ayurveda and the backwaters have remained popular among foreign tourists, especially those from Europe, while new tourism products like Village Life Experience have been attracting more and more visitors to the state.