The Lonely Planet award for the Best Family Destination was bestowed on the state at the World Travel Mart.
Lonely Planet, the world’s largest travel guide book publisher, has named the southern Indian state of Kerala as one among the world’s 10 best destinations for taking the family along for a holiday in 2014.
The Lonely Planet award for the Best Family Destination was bestowed on the state at the World Travel Mart (WTM) that concluded in London on Thursday. Kerala occupies the fourth position in the Overseas Planet’s top 10 overseas family destinations.
The first three are Denmark, Thailand and Belize. The other child-friendly destinations ideal for the family in the list are New York City, Hawaii, Prague, Italy and Iceland.
“The intensity of travel in India could put you off taking a trip here en famille, but Kerala is a family-friendly version: more laid-back than other regions, greener, slower paced... There are also lots of national parks for elephant spotting, palm-fringed beaches and boat trips along the lush canals of the backwaters,” the Lonely Planet said.
Kerala Tourism Director S Harikishore, who led the state delegation to the WTM, received the award from Lonely Planet.
Former South African cricketer Jonty Rhodes was among those who visited the Kerala pavilion at the WTM, themed on the Ayurveda. Rhodes, who retired from international cricket in 2003 after a spectacular career during which he became best fielder in world cricket, is a brand ambassador for South African Tourism.
“With the British economy registering the fastest growth in the last three years in the previous quarter, the mood at the World Travel Mart hosted by London was upbeat,” said Harikishore.
The United Kingdom is the most important market for Kerala, recording nearly 150,000 tourist arrivals in the state last year.
“The WTM presented us with a significant opportunity to target higher growth figures for Kerala Tourism, as far as foreign tourist arrivals are concerned, in the coming years as there are signs of recovery also in the rest of Europe after a severe debt crisis,” Harikishore added.
“We are also very honoured to have received such a prestigious award from Lonely Planet and being named among the best destinations for family travel.”
The Kerala delegation included 12 co-exhibitors representing the hospitality industry from the state. Several key members of the world’s travel trade industry visited the Kerala pavilion, which showcased the state as the ‘Home of Ayurveda’. The pavilion received thousands of visitors during the four-day event.
An annual event, the WTM, London, along with the ITB, Berlin held in March, is considered the top travel and tourism event in the world. According to WTM organizers, the event last year is expected to generate nearly 3.2 billion dollars worth of travel and tourism business. As many as 5,000 exhibitors attended this year’s WTM, representing 184 countries and regions.