Kerala has tremendous potential to emerge as a global adventure, eco-tourism hub: Riyas

The renewed focus on adventure and camping tourism is attracting a wave of visitors to Kerala, according to Kerala’s tourism department

“Kerala has tremendous potential to emerge as a global adventure and eco-tourism hub. The state tourism department has major plans to further strengthen this segment, in partnership with the water sports and adventure tourism promoters and local bodies,” said Tourism Minister PA Mohammed Riyas.

“The state government’s focus is on developing world-class infrastructure. Our efforts are to make Kerala the finest destination for thrill seekers and adventure lovers,” he stressed.  

Besides adding at least, a dozen new destinations offering various thrilling experiences, Kerala Tourism has planned four international events to put the state firmly on the global adventure tourism map.

International competitions are being held in paragliding, surfing, mountain cycling and whitewater kayaking in some of its tourism hotspots.

Adventure tourism activities are now mainly concentrated in the Idukki, Wayanad, Kannur, Kozhikode, Thiruvananthapuram, Kasaragod, Malappuram, and Ernakulam districts. These destinations offer excellent opportunities for activities like water sports, trekking and paragliding.

Last year, the sector generated Rs 23.5 crores in revenue and created more than 3,000 regular jobs, besides triggering local business activities. The state government had already issued safety and security guidelines for camping and adventure tourism activities.

The entities working under the Department of Tourism mainly coordinate these activities in a public-private-participation mode. In addition, some 200 adventure tourism activity providers operate in the private sector, and 60 are registered with the tourism department. This year’s first event, the ‘International Paragliding Competition 2024’, was held from March 14 to 17 at Vagamon, Idukki.

Over 100 nationally and internationally renowned gliders participated in India’s largest aero sports adventure festival. The contestants came from countries such as France, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Australia, the US, the UK, and Nepal. In the same month, the tourism department organized a three-day International Surfing Festival on the famous Varkala Beach, also a first in India.

Notably, Kerala is also now emerging as a premier surfing destination in the country, with high potential as a global water sport hub. The 7th edition of the International Mountain Cycling Championship (MTB Kerala-2024) was held in April at Priyadarshini Tea Plantation, Mananthavady, Wayanad. Cyclists from 25 countries participated in the cross-country competition covering mud, rock and water terrains. Earlier, Kozhikode hosted the Malabar River Festival, a three-day International Whitewater Kayaking competition, with best-known kayakers hitting river Chaliyar. The Tourism Department organizes the championship under the aegis of Kerala Adventure Tourism Promotion Society (KATPS), Wayanad District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC) and the Cycling Federation of India. The 10th edition of the Malabar River Festival, famous for its organizational excellence and spectator participation, will be held from July 25 to 28.