Kerala has been pegged as a ‘Destination to Watch’ in 2017 by the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA), the U.K.’s largest and most influential body of travel agents and tour operators.
Described as a “true haven for travellers,” ‘God’s Own Country’ is the only Indian entry in the list of 12 tourist hotspots.
The list, featured in ABTA’s ‘Travel Trends Report 2017,’ has Kerala in the eighth spot — higher than premier destinations such as the U.S., Sardinia, South Africa and Vietnam. The rankings consist of locations that are expected to capture travellers’ imagination.
Lauding the State’s “multitude of experiences for holidaymakers,” the report marks for emphasis, Kerala’s natural riches — in particular, its serene beaches, enchanting backwaters, misty hill stations, lush forests and exotic wildlife — and its cultural and culinary offerings. There is also a special mention of the rejuvenating touch of traditional Ayurveda therapies.
Among the not-to-miss experiences mentioned is a journey through the backwaters in the traditional houseboat, “as the life of the local people, spice plantations and forests slowly unfold before you.”
Commenting on the State making it to the list, Minister for Tourism Kadakampally Surendran said “this latest recognition of Kerala’s stature as a must-visit destination is a matter of pride for us and bodes well for the year ahead.”
“This is an excellent start to the year and will add momentum to our ongoing efforts to promote and showcase Kerala around the world. This is especially important in the U.K., which is our primary source market for tourists,” said Principal Secretary (Tourism) Venu V.
Kerala received 1,66,792 tourists from the U.K. in 2015, which is 17.06 per cent share of the total foreign arrivals to the State. The predictive ranking by ABTA, whose members reportedly sell £32 billion worth of holidays and other travel arrangements every year, suggests the outlook for the State will remain bright.
Director of Tourism U.V. Jose said it is a endorsement not only of the State’s capacity to attract and cater to a wide range of travellers, but also the innovative campaigns and marketing initiatives that have helped position ‘God’s Own Country’ on the world tourism map. The list also features Anadalucia, the Azores islands, Bermuda, Chile, Croatia and Denmark.