Kerala is the land of enchanting backwaters and picturesque landscapes bordered by the blue sea and the blue mountains. Being located in the southwest coast of India, this strip of land, also called 'Malabar Coast' is washed by the monsoon rains as well as by the Arabian Sea. The rains and rivers wash the landscape and the sea waves wash the beaches of Kerala.
Kerala (or Malabar) had been a destination for may peoples from pre-historic times- Arabs, Jews, Phoenicians, Egyptians, Persians, Chinese, Greeks, Romans, Portuguese, Dutch, French, and the English. But, they had come to Kerala not as tourists but as traders. They wanted to purchase or exchange their products with the famed spices of the Malabar Coast, like black pepper, cardamom, ginger, turmeric, nutmegs, cinnamon, cloves, etc. Roman gold coins and Chinese ceramic remains being unearthed now and then, from here and there in Kerala, has already proved such international exchange of commodities in the coastal port cities, in ancient times.
The spices exports from Kerala still continue. Cargo ships from Cochin and other ports carry the spices to different international markets year after year.
In recent times, foreigners have been coming to Kerala in ever-increasing numbers not as traders, but as tourists. Tourism has become a global phenomenon in the last three decades and is one of the world’s largest industries. With improvement of transport facilities and availability of low-cost air travel, people in the advanced and less advanced countries began to travel to other countries for pleasure, entertainment, sight-seeing, holidaying, cultural experience, etc. Prosperity and increase in income, globalization and internationalization, easy transport and communication, etc. are the factors, which led to the tremendous increase in the number of tourists to international destinations including those in India.
Transportation facilities play a great role in tourism. An important aspect of integrated tourism development is the transportation network available, because tourism is an activity of traveling and staying in places of one’s choice. It can be said that the development of transport led to the development of tourism in Kerala. Several destinations in Kerala became tourist centers mainly because of transportation facilities. Many places of interest here can be easily reached from other parts of India and the world by air, rail, road and the sea. As a result domestic tourism has been expanding rapidly in Kerala, in recent years. The three international airports in Kerala and increasing number of flights by low-cost airliners are bringing more and more foreign tourists into the emerald greenery of the landscape and the bluish expanses of the backwaters.
There are a wide variety of packages Kerala is offering to tourists from abroad. Nature’s beauty, the sunny beaches, boating in the backwaters, wildlife, bird sanctuaries, flora with herbal medicinal plants, beautiful flowers, wild and tamed elephants, historical forts, temples, and churches, pilgrimage centers and shrines, festivals and pageants, IT parks and Ayurvedic spas, and a lot more cater for diverse interests and tastes of tourists.
Thus, Kerala is an exotic mixture of nature’s very best. Arabian Sea on the west, beaches by the dozen, backwaters, emerald paddy fields, hilly midlands, the mountains on the east. It is a travelers’ paradise.
"What Kerala has to offer to the world?"
A seminar on the question as to what Kerala has to offer to the world had been organized a few years ago. It came to the conclusion that among many things, the prominent ones are natural beauty, Ayurveda, Panchakarma, pepper, cardamom, other spices, vasthu vidya, backwaters cruises, hill resorts, wild life sanctuaries, tiger preserves, bird sanctuaries, bird sanctuaries, dam reservoirs, boating and cruising, etc.
The National Geographic Society had designated Kerala, as one of the "must-see" places in the world.