Kerala, popularly known as Gods own Country, is attracting tourists from the Gulf region. They escape hot climate back home and come to enjoy cooler hills and backwaters. Medical and wellness tourism is an attraction for many.
Sidhik Rehman, Manager, National Travel Agency, Dammam, Saudi Arabia told eGTMedia at KTM 2016, that: “Europe, especially Turkey is no longer on the radar of travellers from Saudi Arabia due to troubles. India has become a good alternative and I have been sending almost 500 tourists from Saudi to Kerala every year. They come for two to three weeks during July, August and September months and travel to Kochi, Munnar, Thekkady and Kumarakom.” He added that many who come for healing prefer traditional Ayurveda centers like Kottakkal Arya Vaidya Sala and travel to hills and backwaters after treatment.
Kerala has a historic relationship with Gulf countries as a common port on ancient spice root. 2.5 mn Keralites work in different Middle Eastern countries, together repatriating billions of dollars back home.
Vimalroy V, General Manager, The Fog Munnar Resort & Spa, said, : “We get many Arabian guests. They are demanding and we try to cater to their needs.” Two year old luxury hotel in the verdant green hills of Western Ghats) welcomes all its guests with kahwa (coffee) and dates and also serves Arabic cuisine at it restaurant. Their villas with twin bedrooms, common drawing and dining space and huge private lawns are private and well suited for families.
Operators of a popular spa on the backwaters at Kumarakom blocked all of its treatment rooms to extend privacy to a demanding Arab family during their treatment period.
Santhosh Kumar Singh, Reservations and Revenue Manager at The Zuri Kumarakaom, Resort & Spa said: “Arab guests coming during the traditional lean period adds to our occupancy rates. They mainly come from Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia accompanied by families and like to experience the spa.”
Good flight connections to the Gulf, out of the three airports in Kochi, Tiruvanantapuram and Kozhikode are facilitating Arab tourists to visit Kerala. Fourth airport at Kannur is expected to start operations next year. Saudi Arabia is the fifth biggest tourist market for Kerala after UK, France, Germany, and USA.
Written by Anand & Madhura Katti