Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 8: Lonely Planet has named Kerala as one among the world’s 10 best destinations for taking the family along for a holiday in 2014.
The Lonely Planet award for the Best Family Destination was bestowed on ‘God’s Own Country’ at the World Travel Mart (WTM) in London, the world’s leading travel trade event attended by industry representatives from around the world.
Kerala joined the likes of New York City, Denmark, Prague, Iceland, Italy and Hawaii in being described by the travel expert as a child-friendly destination ideal for the family. “The intensity of travel in India could put you off taking a trip here en famille, but Kerala is a family-friendly version: more laid-back than other regions, greener, slower paced… There are also lots of national parks for elephant spotting, palm-fringed beaches and boat trips along the lush canals of the backwaters,” it said.
Kerala Tourism Director Shri S Harikishore, who led the state delegation to the WTM, received the award from Lonely Planet. The WTM, which began on November 4, concluded on Thursday.
Former South African cricketer Jonty Rhodes was among those who visited the Kerala pavilion at the WTM, themed on the Ayurveda. Rhodes, who retired from international cricket in 2003 after a spectacular career during which he became best fielder in world cricket, is a brand ambassador for South African Tourism.
“With the British economy registering the fastest growth in the last three years in the previous quarter, the mood at the World Travel Mart hosted by London was upbeat,” said Shri Harikishore.
The United Kingdom is the most important market for Kerala, recording nearly 1.5 lakh tourist arrivals in the state last year.
“The WTM presented us with a significant opportunity to target higher growth figures for Kerala Tourism, as far as foreign tourist arrivals are concerned, in the coming years as there are signs of recovery also in the rest of Europe after a severe debt crisis,” Shri Harikishore added. “We are also very honoured to have received such a prestigious award from Lonely Planet and being named among the best destinations for family travel.”
The Kerala delegation included 12 co-exhibitors representing the hospitality industry from the state. The co-exhibitors were Abad Hotels & Resorts, Carnoustie Beach Resort and Ayurveda Spa, Intersight Tours & Travels, Jayasree Travels and Tours, Joy’s Resorts & Hotels, KTDC Hotels & Resorts, Kumarakom Lake Resort, Lake Palace Resort, Spiceland Holidays, Uday Samudra Leisure Beach Hotel & Spa, Vythiri Resort and Vaidyaratnam Oushadhasala.
Several key members of the world’s travel trade industry visited the Kerala pavilion, which showcased the state as the ‘Home of Ayurveda’. The pavilion received thousands of visitors during the four-day event.
An annual event, the WTM, London, along with the ITB, Berlin held in March, is considered the top travel and tourism event in the world. According to WTM organizers, the event last year is expected to generate nearly 3.2 billion dollars worth of travel and tourism business. As many as 5,000 exhibitors attended this year’s WTM, representing 184 countries and regions.