Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala has been at the receiving end after the floods and lost around 18 per cent of the tourists the state used to receive earlier, Minister of State (independent charge) for Tourism Alphons Kannanthanam said Monday.
He told reporters here that as a Minister and a Keralite, he was not happy with ranking of the state in the tourism sector of the country.
Kannathanam said Prime Minister Narendra Modi would on January 15 inaugurate a tourism project related to the Padmanabhaswami temple here, under the spiritual circuit theme of the swadesh darshan project.
The project of the Centre was to develop the basic facilities in and around the religious institutions across the country.
Swadesh darshan links at least three major tourists destinations of the country.
There are 77 such projects and over Rs 6,300 crore has been sanctioned, he said.
Kannathanam also said 60 per cent of Indian tourists were attracted towards spiritual tourism.
"That's why we are developing the regions around the religious institutions. Under this scheme we have sanctioned 75.88 crore for Padmanabhaswami temple and over 95 per cent work has been completed," the minister said.
He also said the state was set to receive tourists and the industry was ready after the August deluge.
"I heard that according to preliminary reports, Kerala has been receiving 18 per cent less tourists after the floods. This is even as we are ready to receive them after the floods. People outside still think that we are yet to get ready," he said.
The minister also said his ministry was concentrating on attracting tourists from large markets across the globe.
"We are concentrating on capturing the large markets across the globe - like China. Last year, 144 million people from China went out of that country. We got only two lakh of that crowd. We need to re-route at least 10 per cent of Chinese tourists to our country in the next few years," he said.
Kannathanam rubbished the earlier claim of state ministers that only Rs 18 crore was sacntioned by the Centre for the development of Sabarimala and said the rest would be given only after receiving the utilisation report of the first installment.
"The first installment of around Rs 18 crore was given and the next installment would be alloted when the government submits the utilisation report and receipt for the first installment," he said.