Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala has registered a 17.2 per cent rise in tourist (domestic and foreign) arrivals with the number touching 1.96 crore in 2019.
It's the first time since 1996 that a growth rate has been achieved. The total earnings from tourism stood at Rs 45,010.69 crore, notching a 24.14 per cent rise.
Of the total number of tourists (1,95,74,004), 1,83,84,233 were domestic and 11,89,771 foreign visitors.
In 2018, the number of tourists visiting Kerala was 1,67,01,068 (domestic 1,56,04,661 and foreign 10,96,407).
The growth rate in the inflow of domestic tourists was 17.81 per cent and for foreign arrivals 8.52 per cent.
"We have bounced back with great vigour after suffering unprecedented floods and torrential rains in 2018 and 2019. This is the highest growth rate since 1996," said Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran.
He expressed optimism about sustaining the growth momentum in 2020, and said "it, however, will depend on how quickly the world finds a solution to the coronavirus problem.
Of the 14 districts, Ernakulam attracted the largest number of tourists (45,82,366), followed by Thiruvananthapuram (33,48,618), Thrissur (25,99,248) and Idukki (18,95,422).
Also, the total foreign exchange earnings from tourism crossed Rs 10,000 crore for the first time, touching a figure of Rs 10,271.06 crore and registering a growth of 17.19 per cent over the previous year.