Thiruvananthapuram: Union Minister Alphons Kannathanam on Monday said that spiritual tourism takes up 60 per cent of all tourism activities in the country and hence a package of Rs 85.20 crore has been sanctioned to develop basic infrastructure in 133 religious institutions in Kerala, comprising churches, temples and mosques.
He also expressed unhappiness over his home state Kerala's low ranking in the tourism sector. Speaking to the media here, Alphons, who is the Union Minister for Tourism, said that Kerala ranked eighth in the country in attracting foreign tourists and 16th in domestic travellers.
"Kerala is a beautiful state and I am certainly not happy with the rankings. Neighbouring Tamil Nadu has secured the top position," Alphons said, noting that the unprecedented floods in August took a heavy toll on the state's tourism sector.
He said Kerala's performance comes at a time when the World Travel Tourism Council, in its latest figures, revealed that India ranked third after China and the US in the tourism industry with the country's revenues from tourism touching $234 billion in the previous calendar year.
"Eighty seven per cent of this revenue is generated from domestic travellers, while $24 billion is generated from foreign tourists. Likewise 84 million jobs are there in the tourism industry of which 13.92 million jobs were created in the past four years," said Alphons.
Reeling out the figures, the Minister said the tourism sector accounted for 5.7 per cent of the GDP and has 12.36 per cent of all jobs in the country.
"For every rupee that's spent in the industry, it creates an overall impact of Rs 3.50."