Kerala bets big on heli-tourism to attract visitors

Big Ticket Adventure Tourism events on cards

Paragliding festival at Wagamon; Surfing festival at Varkala

MTB Kerala at Mananthavady and Malabar River Festival at Kodenchery


Ahmedabad, Feb 27: Poised to soar new heights in 2024, Kerala Tourism today unveiled in the national capital, a raft of groundbreaking products including Heli-Tourism, connecting the state’s top destinations, as part of its aggressive campaign to increase the domestic tourist footfalls.

Branded as ‘Sky Escapes’, the heli-tourism project has been planned as a game-changer in the manner houseboats did for the state, three decades ago, and thus continue to lure visitors from both India and abroad, Kerala Tourism Minister P A Mohamed Riyas said.

“Kerala has become the first state in the country to come out with a comprehensive heli-tourism policy. A micro-site has been created giving details of travel packages offered by the helicopter service providers. This initiative will be of enormous help to tourists planning to visit various destinations in a single trip, making the state an inter-connected tourism hotspot,”  Riyas pointed out.

“In the new year, we have drawn up an aggressive marketing strategy to bolster the presence of domestic tourists in the state,” the Minister said, adding, “Kerala Tourism’s campaign — Make up for lost time, pack up for Kerala– received the prestigious PATA Gold Award in a rousing endorsement of its innovative promotional initiative.”

Sajesh, Information Officer, Kerala Tourism Department was in Ahmedabad to interact with the media as well as organise a ‘Kerala Tourism Partnership Meet’ on Tuesday. Large number of agents and travelling and tourist organisers were enthusiastically participated in it.

Sajesh said “With an aim to put Kerala on the global adventure tourism map, the government has decided to host four international adventure sporting events this year. Adventure tourism was expected to grow 20% by 2032 worldwide. It also played a huge role in growth of domestic tourism.

Big ticket adventure tourism events are also on the cards since the State’s geography features a challenging mix of mountains, rivers, beaches and canals, offering immense potential for this segment’ he pointed out.. 

International Paragliding Festival at Vagamon in Idukki from March 14 to 17, International Surfing Festival at Varkala from March 29 to 31, mega mountain biking event, MTB Kerala 2024, will be held at Priyadarshini tea plantation in Mananthavady, Wayanad, from April 26 to 28 and The Malabar River Festival 2024 will be held at Kodencherry in Kozhikode from July 25 to 28. 

Kerala Tourism is also making concerted efforts to promote the state as an ideal wedding destination by leveraging its astonishing natural beauty, picturesque destinations, excellent accommodation &banquet facilities, and connectivity. The recent trend shows that considerable number of destination weddings are now happening across the state.

Kerala’s serene backwaters fringed by swaying palm trees, pristine beaches, the mystic hill stations with sprawling tea & spice plantations – all makes the state an enchanting place for couples tying the knot as well as for honeymooners.

“The government is committed to creating a conducive environment for destination weddings, attracting couples from around the world and boosting tourism and local economies,” said Tourism Secretary K Biju IAS.

K. Biju IAS said, Kerala registered a record number of 159.69 lakh visitors from within the country during January-September 2023,clocking an impressive growth of 19.34 per cent. “It is a testament to our innovative tourism initiatives that make the state not only a safe and hospitable destination but also an all-weather holiday paradise,” he added.

“We are also making efforts to promote adventure tourism in the state to attract young vacationers seeking thrill and experiential activities. Eco-adventure tour packages focused around Kerala’s natural treasures are being designed as part of a wider strategy to make the stay of new-age travellers a thrilling experience,” said the Tourism Secretary.

Tourism Director  P B Nooh IAS pointed out, the revamped strategy of Kerala Tourism hinges on introducing new destinations ,creating innovative tourism circuits, investing in infrastructure development and capacity building projects, broadening the award-winning Responsible Tourism (RT) initiative, which allows tourists to experience village life, and ensuring better connectivity.

Kerala Tourism will organise a string of travel trade networking activities in January-March in prominent Indian cities, by participating in trade fairs and also organize B2B Partnership Meets (roadshows) to introduce the new products to a wider audience. These included Partnership Meets in Chandigarh& Delhi last monthand Bhopal & Lucknow earlier this month. A B2Btrade meets in Hyderabad is also planned during March.

Noting that October to March is the best time to visit Kerala,  P B Nooh IAS said the state is unique in having a variety of experiences for tourists like houseboats, caravan stays, plantation visits, jungle lodges, homestays, Ayurveda-based wellness solutions, adventure activities, and country-side walks ,including trekking to verdant hills.

“Alongside the new projects, the state’s core assets like beaches, hill stations, houseboats and backwater segment will heighten the totality of the visitors’ experience,” he said, adding, “Adventure, Wellness, and Responsible Tourism will be taken forward with a greater sense of purpose and vigour”.

All popular art forms of Kerala were presented by the artists from Kerala at the venue.