"In the previous calendar year Kerala tourist arrivals saw a seven percent growth and a record 18 million people visited the state. With the weakening of rupee and a fresh tourism season on the anvil, it's quite certain that those in the tourism business here will benefit," he said.

Kerala attracted 789,698 foreign tourists in 2012 while foreign exchange earnings touched Rs 4,548 crore (Over USD 650 million)."Even though there are no regulations in place - to regulate pricing - we are certain that the resort owners won't jack up the tariffs to make more money," said Anil kumar.

The new tourism season in the state begins by the end of September and peaks in December before tapering off in February."The introduction of tourist visa-on-arrival facility at Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi airports from last month will boost the tourism industry," the minister said.

The visa-on-arrival facility is currently available to citizens of 11 countries, Cambodia, Finland, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Luxembourg, Myanmar, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam.

"These are countries from where there is a good potential for people to come here. We will be conducting promotions and road shows in these countries," said Anil kumar.

He said that the tourism department was all set for this month's Onam festivities and Rs 2.20 crore had been earmarked for the cultural events."The event opens on September 14 and ends with the customary pageantry procession here on September 20. We expect a good number of tourists during this period," the minister added.

(Agencies)

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