State Affairs

Tourism starts chapter 2 in God’s Own Country


The verdant hills of Munnar
The verdant hills of Munnar

Kerala’s hospitality scene is buzzing. Hotel groups, old and new, are expanding into virgin territories or adding extra capacity at existing locations. Raxa Collective, promoted by the Muthoot Group, is slated to open 20 villas at Marari Beach later this year and two private villas at Panangad in Thrissur. At Thekkady, Sarovar’s Poetree Sarovar Portico will have 50 rooms on offer later this year while Mfar’s `75-crore project in Kumily is slated to open in the coming months.

Is the Kerala tourism pie big enough for everyone to eat? Also, could so much expansion cause a breakdown of the state’s fragile eco-friendly tourism sector? In simple words, are hoteliers killing the goose that lays the golden egg?

Till recently, Kerala relied largely on a handful of locations, such as Thekkady (wildlife), Kumarakom (backwaters), Kovalam (beach), Fort Kochi (Chinese fishing nets and old houses built by the Portuguese, Dutch and British) and Munnar (hill station/tea gardens) to draw in tourists. But the scope for adding new capacity in these areas is limited and there is a need to create new tourism spots in the state. Given that the areas surrounding Wayanad in North Kerala have immense potential, several hotel chains are moving in that direction. Bekal in Kasargod, north Kerala, has already become the new It-destination. The Taj group opened a 71-villa property in a 26-acre plot in Bekal in 2011. Lalit Hotels followed suit with a 39-room property. Now, Westin Hotels & Resorts is set to open a resort in March 2015.

Full report here New Indian Express


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