The small state of Kerala, which represents just 1% of the land mass, is considered to be one of India’s most beautiful state. It is a very rural state with most of the population living in villages but is culturally and scenically diverse. Kerala Tourism has two national parks, ten wildlife sanctuaries and two bird sanctuaries.Kerala occupies a long (550km), narrow strip of land in the far south of India. Its coastline is on the Arabian Sea (part of the Indian Ocean) and its eastern border with the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu is the top of the majestic Western Ghat mountains. The landscape varies from long golden beaches to cool hill stations and dense green jungle to bustling cities. Its unique feature is the 1,900km of palm fringed Kerala backwaters.
In 2006, Kerala Tourism attracted 8.5 million tourists–an increase of 23.68% in foreign tourist arrivals compared to the previous year, thus making it one of the fastest growing tourism destination in the world.Popular attractions in the state include the beaches at Kovalam, Cherai and Varkala,the hill stations of Munnar, Nelliampathi, Ponmudi and Wayanad; and national parks and wildlife sanctuaries at Periyar and Eravikulam National Park. The ” Kerala backwaters” region—an extensive network of interlocking rivers, lakes, and canals that centre on Alleppey, Kumarakom, and Punnamada—also see heavy tourist traffic. Heritage sites, such as the Padmanabhapuram Palace, Hill Palace, Mattancherry Palace are also visited. Cities such as Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram are popular centres for shopping and traditional theatrical performances.The state’s tourism agenda promotes ecologically sustained tourism, which focuses on the local culture, wilderness adventures, volunteering and personal growth of the local population. Efforts are taken to minimise the adverse effects of traditional tourism on the natural environment, and enhance the cultural integrity of local people.
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