Kerala to develop Bekal into a backwater hot spot
In a bid to provide an entirely new and a unique experience to the travellers, who flock to God’s own country to enjoy its idyllic beach and backwater destinations, Kerala Tourism is planning to develop Bekal into one of the leading backwater tourist hot spots in the state. Situated in Kasaragod, the northernmost district of Kerala, Bekal is a place largely unexplored, where you can find beaches, backwaters and hills, within an ambit of a few kilometres. The place is also famous for majestic Bekal Fort, ancient temples and mosques, handicrafts, and utensils and curios made of bell metal.
The move is to develop Bekal, where lazy lagoons intersperse with sun-dappled backwaters, into its second biggest backwater tourist destination. Alappuzha, with its picturesque canals, backwaters, beaches and lagoons, is the most popular and the biggest backwater tourist spot in Kerala.
The state government has already unveiled a slew of measures to develop world-class tourism infrastructure at Bekal, including an airstrip, a number of resorts and facilities for adventure tourism. Also, plans are on the cards to revamp the railway station and improve the national highway.
“Bekal is an amazing destination, with a lot of tourism potential. It is one of those rare destinations, where you can find beaches, backwaters and hills, all within a few kilometres. Our top priority is to improve road, rail and air connectivity. The emphasis, however, should be on promoting sustainable and responsible tourism,” says, Oommen Chandy, Chief Minister of Kerala. He has recently inaugurated the ‘Know Bekal’ promotional campaign, an initiative aimed at spreading awareness on various attractions in Bekal.
This south Indian state has been working to turn Bekal into a sought-after tourist destination for the past several years and it seems its efforts have begun to yield results. Last year, about 320,000 tourists visited this fast developing tourist spot.
“Bekal, as a destination, is largely unexplored and pristine. Our target is to attract more than six lakh visitors to this scenic spot by 2015. Besides other tourism infra, we will also be developing facilities for water and aero sports at Bekal,” informs, A P Anil Kumar, Tourism Minister, Kerala.
The development works are taken up by Bekal Resorts Development Corporation Limited (BRDC), which was set up in 1995, with the specific task of capacity-building and infrastructure development. To develop resorts, the government has acquired 230 acres of land and allotted a part of it for six private projects.
“Two resorts have already come up - Vivanta by Taj and the Lalit Resort and Spa. Four other projects are under various stages of development. We want to develop more accommodation facilities and people are welcome to invest, especially in budget hotels,” says, Rani George, Director, Kerala Tourism.