IPL-model boat race revs up Kerala’s standing as all-season destination


The third edition of the annual ‘Champions Boat League’ which commenced earlier last month, is expected to enhance domestic footfall across Kerala

Kerala, known for its stunning natural beauty and captivating culture, is once again in the spotlight as it embraces innovative products like the IPL-model Champions Boat League (CBL) to draw travellers year-round. After experiencing a significant increase in domestic tourists, the southern Indian state is reinforcing its status as a highly-preferred tourist destination. 

Following a spectacular week of Onam celebrations that attracted a surge in tourists, the third edition of the annual IPL-model CBL, which commenced earlier last month, is expected to enhance domestic footfall across Kerala. 

The Champions Boat League offers a unique spectacle as magnificent snake boats, known as Chundan Vallam, powered by numerous rowers, race through the emerald backwaters, creating a vibrant atmosphere of enthusiasm and energy. 

Tourism Minister P. A. Mohamed Riyas, while commenting on the influx of domestic tourists, emphasized the state’s efforts to further boost post-pandemic tourism. He noted that the Champions Boat League season, closely following the Onam Week celebrations, provides a captivating time for visitors to explore Kerala’s diverse attractions. 

“Rising to the demands and tastes of tourists of our time, Kerala has launched quite a few attractive products, besides widening the scope of existing ones and projecting the distinct features of the state. This year, we are looking for the next-level fillip by attracting more domestic tourists to experience the novel tourism products,” he added. 

In recognition of its innovative initiatives, Kerala Tourism recently received the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Gold Award for its “Make up for lost time, pack up for Kerala” campaign. The campaign, targeting domestic tourists transitioning to post-COVID normalcy, made a splash across various media platforms. 

To further entice tourists from within the country, Kerala Tourism is planning a series of travel trade networking activities, including participation in trade fairs and organizing B2B trade meetings. These initiatives have received encouraging responses from the industry. Additionally, Kerala Tourism will conduct roadshows in Surat and Rajkot in October. 

As part of these efforts, a familiarisation trip called ‘Go Kerala’ is offered to selected tour operators from the host city, aiming to develop destination awareness and experience new products in Kerala. In addition to these accolades, the STREET project, a part of Kerala’s Responsible Tourism initiative, won a global award at the World Travel Market (WTM) in London. Kerala was also voted the best wedding destination by readers of Travel Plus Leisure. 

Tourism Secretary K Biju stated that trade fairs and roadshows serve as ideal platforms to showcase the variety of experiences Kerala has to offer tourists. Recent trends have highlighted Kerala as a glamorous wedding destination, with its natural beauty, picturesque locales, excellent accommodations, and connectivity making it one of the best wedding destinations globally. 

Tourism Director P B Nooh emphasized that Kerala offers a wide range of experiences, from houseboats and caravan stays to jungle lodges, plantation visits, homestays, Ayurveda-based wellness solutions, countryside walks, and adventure activities like trekking in verdant hills, providing a unique experience to visitors.    

The state’s core assets, including beaches, hill stations, houseboats, and backwater segments, enhance the overall visitor experience. In 2022, Kerala made a significant impression at major tourism and travel fairs in India and abroad, including SATTE Delhi, OTM Mumbai, TTF Ahmedabad, BIT Milan, IMTM Tel Aviv, ATM Dubai, WTM London, and ITB Berlin. The state received recognition from TIME magazine, Conde Nast Traveller, and Travel Plus Leisure, solidifying its place as a top global tourist destination.