|Tourism industry in Mysuru and Kodagu is hoping for a surge in tourist footfall - all thanks to Kannur International Airport, a greenfield airport in Kerala, which will be inaugurated for flight operations shortly.|
Stakeholders here argue that the airport will open a new gateway for tourism development as Kodagu is closer to Kannur and eventually improve connectivity between the two States boosting tourism.
According to tour and travel operators here, some section of tourists wishing to visit Mysuru and Madikeri may opt to travel via Kannur airport instead of Bengaluru’s Kempegowda International Airport and the itinerary will alter once the airport becomes operational. Mysuru Travels Association (MTA) has been invited by the authorities for a tour of the greenfield airport.
Confirming this to The Hindu, MTA president B.S. Prashanth said tour and travel operators from Mysuru will soon be visiting Kannur to take a look at the facilities at the airport. The airport has been developed under public-private partnership.
“Mysuru is the transit route to Madikeri. Once the airport becomes operational, Kodagu may become the new transit zone to Mysuru if tourists prefer flying to Kannur instead of Bengaluru when they plan their vacation to the ‘Land of coffee’. Tourism is booming in Kodagu with scores of homestays and popular hill resorts to unwind,” he said.
The new airport will also open new access way to tourists planning to visit Wayanad and Ooty — the other two popular hill stations in south India. The road connectivity from Kannur is said to be good further pushing tourist arrivals to Kodagu. Kannur is around 70 km from Virajpet in Kodagu while the distance from Mysuru is around 120 km.
People flying to Kannur need not have to bother about traffic to reach their destinations – Madikeri or Mysuru – unlike from Bengaluru. Reaching the city from Kempegowda International Airport at Devanahalli near Bengaluru and thereafter to Mysuru under bumper-to-bumper traffic on the busy National Highway is a challenge for tourists, who fly into the State capital. “If you provide good and hassle-free connectivity, people will definitely patronise,” the stakeholders claim. “The traffic doubles in weekends with the travelling time stretching up to four hours between Bengaluru and Mysuru. Barring the ghat section, the drive is smooth between Mysuru and Kannur,” he said.
The spurt in homestays and luxury resorts in the ‘Land of Coffee’ – Kodagu – has made it one of the busiest hill stations in south India.
“There is a little worry as Kodagu is getting commercialised. We don’t want the place to meet the same fate as Ooty which has undergone rapid commercialisation. To some extent, Kodagu should retain its serene identity to be in the competition,” sources in tourism sector here told The Hindu.
Some unconfirmed statistics said Kodagu has over 35,000 rooms – at homestays, hotels, and resorts. The number has increased only in recent years..