Pleasure-trips on various watercrafts have become very popular in Kerala. Tourism development programmes by the governments and private entrepreneurs have increased various facilities for backwater tourism. Popularity of cruises on the expansive water of the lagoon, lake, river estuaries and canals of Kerala has increased tremendously in recent years. Domestic tourists as well as foreigners find the ride on the bluish water amidst the lush greenery of the coconut palms and the rice fields, an exhilarating and relaxing experience. Low-cost air travel around the world and the increasing number of flights to and from the Kerala airports are also factors accounting for the increase in tourist arrivals to Kerala.
As Kerala has several tourism packages with different destinations and purpose, there are many diverse items tourists find satisfying. For some, it may be basking in the sun on the beaches along the Arabian Sea shore. For some others, the wildlife like elephants, deer, stag, bison, tigers, leopards, bears and the birds, may be thrilling. Ayurvedic medicine with therapeutic massage, ointment applications, oil bath, at health resorts and also at a few luxury hotels attracts many foreign tourists for its healing and rejuvenating touch. The historical palaces and forts built by the European colonial powers after the arrival of Vasco da Gama in 1498 at Calicut (Kozhikode) in Kerala, are interesting for the historically – oriented scholars and archeologists. And backwaters cruises of houseboats attracts an ever-increasing number of travelers.