Tourist arrivals in Kerala from West Asian countries, one of the mainstays of the state’s vibrant tourism sector in recent times, have nosedived in the first half of 2018.
According to Tourism Department statistics, tourist arrivals from Oman, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Bahrain - which grew at 25-30 per cent till 2017 - slipped to negative growth in the first two quarters.
Tourist arrivals from Bahrain fell the most (-35.16 per cent), followed by Saudi Arabia (-33.71 per cent), Oman (-18.55 per cent), Kuwait (-16.88 per cent) and UAE (-6.05 per cent) when compared to the first half of 2017. The ominous signs were there in 2017 when tourist arrivals from Saudi Arabia declined from a robust growth track, a trend that has spread to countries such as Oman, UAE, Kuwait and Bahrain in no time, said officials.
However, all is not lost. Overall, foreign tourist arrivals grew by 6.96 per cent during the first half of this year.
Notable among the trends was the increase in arrivals from France, which is back in the No 2 spot following a gap of two years, registering a growth of 19.71 per cent.
The UK continues to send the most number of tourists.