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Kerala ranked most welcoming region in India third year in row: What works in Kerala’s favour

The Financial Express logo The Financial Express 21-01-2021 Bulbul Dhawan
a palm tree in front of a body of water: Kerala was followed by Rajasthan, Goa, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. (Image: Kerala Tourism) © Provided by The Financial Express Kerala was followed by Rajasthan, Goa, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. (Image: Kerala Tourism)

Most welcoming tourist destinations in India: Kerala ranked most welcoming region in India! Travelling portal Booking.com has announced the Traveller Review Awards 2021 and in it, the booking site has highlighted the most welcoming regions and cities in India. Even amid a raging pandemic, Kerala was ranked the most welcoming region in the country by the platform, now holding the position for the third consecutive year. Kerala was followed by Rajasthan, Goa, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The ranking took into account the hospitality and friendliness of these regions.

What works in Kerala's favour?

The list of most welcoming regions were mostly located in south India, accounting for three out of five regions. While Rajasthan is famous for its rich legacy of palaces and royalties, with forts accounting for most of the tourist destinations, Goa is a popular destination for its party beaches. On the other hand, south Indian states, especially Kerala, are known for the natural beauty and diversity they offer, being known for their eco-tourism.

Kerala often features in several lists as one of the best destinations for eco-tourism, and given the rough year that everyone dealt with, most people had been craving for getaways that would take them closer to nature, especially because social distancing was still a requirement. While Tamil Nadu and Karnataka both offer beautiful natural sceneries, Kerala, with its backwaters and houseboats, beautiful legacy of temples and churches, famous as well as unexplored beaches, along with mountains, offers the tourists a wide variety of experiences, while still allowing them to sit right in the lap of the nature.

This, coupled with its extensive relations with the gulf nations, has made Kerala a highly tourist oriented state, considering that tourism is a major source of revenue for the state.

Moreover, the robust healthcare system in the system also makes it an ideal destination for medical tourism, and it is among the biggest medical tourist destinations in the country, both for western medicine and alternative medical sciences, since it is home to several major Ayurvedic institutions, like the Kottakal Ayurvedic establishment.

That is not where Kerala's rich legacy ends, however. The state, apart from medical help and nature also has a rich historical legacy.

Since it marks the state where Vasco da Gama first landed after discovering the sea route to India, the state also has a rich legacy relating to the Portuguese entry into India. In fact, Fort Kochi includes a church – St Francis Church – dedicated to the location where Vasco da Gama was buried after his death for 14 years, before his body was moved to Lisbon. The state has a combined legacy of Dutch, Portuguese, English as well as Malayali cultures, offering the tourists a chance to glance at various traditions all at once.

The state also has a highly active base for the Indian Navy, and while the base is not open to visitors, it is accompanied by marine museums that give tourists a run down of the proud history of the Indian Navy.

Kerala is also known for its appreciation of traditional art forms, and it is common that most families encourage their children to learn traditional art forms, be it dance or music. Most temple festivities in the state are incomplete without a cultural programme. From Kathakali and Bharatanatyam to Carnatic Shastra Sangeet and Kalaripayattu – the martial arts form of Kerala, tourists can catch shows to enjoy traditional arts at any point of time. Kerala is also the host of Kochi-Muziris Biennale, which takes place every second year to display the art from various artists. The art displayed in the Biennale varies from canvas paintings to installation art and it attracts tourists in large numbers due to the relevance of the artists' works to contemporary issues.

What makes things easier for tourists is the fact that due to a high literacy rate, hosts in the tourism industry are able to interact with tourists in English as well as Hindi.

With a state offering such a wide variety of experiences, Kerala's tourism industry has evolved to be professional and welcoming. Thus, it is no wonder that Kerala comes out on the top year after year.

Other rankings

Apart from the most welcoming regions, the booking site also released a list of top five most welcoming cities in the country, with Palolem and Agonda in Goa being ranked at the first and second positions, respectively, followed by Kerala's Mararikulam, and Jaisalmer in Rajasthan and Thekkady in Kerala.

As for the most welcoming accommodation types, the portal said that hotels ranked at the top, followed by resorts, homestays, guesthouses and then apartments, indicating travellers' interest in unique stay experiences.

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