Kottayam Lakeside tourist spots are enjoying a revival

Destination weddings, Arab tourists, North Indian families flock to remote destinations

Destination weddings, Arab tourists, North Indian families flock to remote destinations

The usual lines of visitors have resurfaced along the trails and lakeside properties are bustling with business. And good luck if you’re looking for a houseboat ride, especially on weekends.

After two depressing years, tourists have slowly started making their way through inland Kumarakom and Aymanom, the internationally renowned village destinations in the remote landscape of Kottayam. Starting with destination weddings in April to the arrival of Arab guests during the monsoon, the hospitality industry looks poised to chart a course out of the COVID-19-induced crisis.

The destination is estimated to have hosted at least 15 high-end weddings between April and May. Vacationers from Arab countries began to land here since June. Surfing mainly on the MICE segment (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences & Exhibitions), the destination also recorded a strong increase in the arrival of national visitors.

“We are finally looking towards a better monsoon,” said K.Arun Kumar, Secretary of Vembanad Chamber of Hotels and Resorts (CVHR). The Arab movement is slowly but surely picking up, along with a good number of family crowds from northern India.

In anticipation of good business for the upcoming season, the hospitality industry is now resorting to a recruiting frenzy and new hires are expected to undergo varying levels of training over the next couple of months. “Staff shortages are a critical issue we are facing as the prolonged lockdown and resulting business freeze has forced many experienced staff to take other jobs,” he added.

In addition to the hotel sector, the local authorities seem aware of the resumption of activity and have resumed work with a view to developing sustainable tourism. For example, the Kumarakom grama panchayat is launching a project to declare Kumarakom a plastic-free village within the next six months.

“The pandemic years, which saw near zero demand for tourism activities, have clearly shown the impact of tourism in determining the per capita income of families residing here. It is the duty of the panchayat to present Kumarakom as a sustainable and clean destination to the guests,” said Dhanya Sabu, chairman of the local body.

The project, which will be set up in association with the Responsible Tourism Mission Kerala, will start with a household survey to identify the plastic usage pattern.