The diverse culture and beauty coupled with this unique boat race fascinates a good number of foreign travelers and they are more likely to visit again or spread word about the place. All this results in a positive image boost for Kerala and there is a high chance for the number of travelers to increase multi-fold within the next decade.
The boat race event and the money that it brings to the local population has resulted in big regional developments. The boom in tourists has encouraged many private tourism companies to start tours and packages for domestic and foreign visitors. Also, the state Government has entered into a public-private agreement with many top companies in the tourism sector to open hotels, restaurants and restaurants. Many well-known hotel chains such as Taj, Oberoi, Le Meridien and Best Western have invested here. Also, many wealthy Non-resident Indians (NRI) living abroad in places such as the UK, Malaysia, Singapore and the Gulf have invested in properties geared to meet the growing needs of tourists (Burns & Novelli, 2008). Another important development that has led to a surge in the number of domestic tourists is the opening up of the Konkan railway. This has made the state more accessible to people living in other parts of the country and has provided more growth and revenue for this region. All this has generated vast amounts of employment to this region.
Prior to the development of the event tourism, many residents migrated to the Gulf countries to make use of the opportunities that were available there. They migrated to work as cheap laborers and their remittances back home helped the economy to a considerable extent. However, visa restrictions and poor working conditions forced many people to return to their homes in Kerala and this led to massive economic problems for the state in the early 1990s. Tourism is one of the key sectors that revitalized this state and has increased its economic prosperity during the last few decades, thanks to aggressive efforts by the state and central governments (Burns & Novelli, 2008).
The Kerala boat race has been a blessing in disguise for the local people. The Government as well as the private companies have worked together to improve the infrastructure in this region and this means, there is better access to basic amenities such as power, water and sanitation. All this means an improved quality of life for the local people.
An important step that has led to the cohesive development of this state is the channels of communication used by the Government to reach out to the local people. This was done to ensure that the people benefited from the boom and prosperity that ensued as a result of this event tourism. The government took the help of Panchayats or local councils to convey their ideas and plans to the people and took their suggestions to improve the tourism policies. The government wanted these efforts to be well-rounded and sustainable and these measures helped them to achieve these goals. Also, these open lines of communication have helped them to avoid the problems that come with community-based tourism such as commitment levels, power struggles, unequal distribution of income and division of available resources (Burns & Novelli, 2008).
The boat races in Kerala have boosted the international competitiveness of the region as well as the country as a whole. This event has helped this region to exhibit its beauty to the world. With its stunning backwaters and forty lazy rivers winding through it, the Western Ghats provide the perfect background to this region. The renowned art of Ayurveda massage and kathakali dance have mesmerized visitors for many years and this event has provided the perfect opportunity to show all these cultural extravaganza to the vast number of foreign tourists who throng to this place during the active travel season between August to March.
This form of event tourism has helped many other cities and parts of Kerala to generate revenue from tourism. The spectacular beaches of Kovalam is ideal for people who are looking to enjoy the beach, cruise, kathakali performance and a luxurious life-style. The backwater cruises and beauty of Allepey is enjoyed by tourists on houseboats that provide the right setting for enjoying a wonderful sunrise and sunset. The major cities of Cochin and Thiruvananthapuram also benefit from the tourist influx. All this has put Kerala on the global travel map and has enhanced the international competitiveness of the country as a whole.
Though the Kerala boat race attracts a lot of tourists, there is ample scope for the organizers and the local government to work more in this sector. Firstly, events have to develop a relationship with the audience or on other words, visitors should be able to connect to the event in a big way. So, the marketing campaigns should be geared towards attracting newer customers by making the event more appealing to them. One way to achieve this is to understand what a typical traveler expects from the event and then work on fulfilling their needs. While its not practically possible to fulfill the needs of everyone, it is possible to incorporate the common ones.
Event tourism provides a major boost to the local region and it offers a lot of benefit for the development of the region as well as to boost the quality of life for the local people. A good case study of event tourism is the Kerala boat race that takes place in a rural region called Kuttanad every year. It is popular because it provides a unique cultural experience for the visitors and it helps them to enjoy the scenic beauty and cultural extravaganza of this place. This annual event attracts thousands of tourists and provides immense revenue for this region. Moreover, it has drastically improved the lives of people and has provided numerous employment opportunities for the people of this region. Based on this case study, we can conclude that event tourism plays a big role in increasing the international competitiveness of a region as well as improving the quality of life of the people who live there.
No Author. 1/31/2012. Forum says events key to regional tourism. Northern Daily Leader. Pg5.