Thekkady Wins World’s Top Emerging Destination Award
Thekkady, one of the most popular tourist hotspots in Kerala, was named the world’s top emerging destination by an international travel trade body.
Thekkady won the inaugural Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) CEO Challenge 2015 award along with Albay in the Philippines.
Home to the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, one of the finest wildlife reserves in India, Thekkady is located in Idukki district on the banks of the Periyar River. It is known for its stunning landscape, dense forests, rolling hills and plantations. Thekkady is famous for its considerable wild elephant concentration and has been developed by Kerala Tourism as a model of Responsible Tourism.
“The award will only increase our commitment to work further towards the growth of tourism in Kerala and development of our communities and the livelihoods of our people while preserving our environment,” said Kerala Tourism Minister A P Anilkumar. He described the award as a huge honour for Thekkady.
“The top global tourism award is a recognition of our pioneering efforts in creating a harmony between our distinguished visitors and our nature-endowed destinations,” said Kerala Tourism Secretary G. Kamala VardhanaRao.
The PATA CEO Challenge is aimed at utilising the $500,000 award to develop and create a digital marketing campaign to showcase the destination to a global audience.
The award will be presented in London on November 2, the opening day of the World Travel Mart.
The sanctuary is centered around the large (24 sq km) artificial lake formed by a dam across the Periyar river.
Rich in flora and fauna, Thekkady awaits tourists with its unending chains of hills and spice scented plantations. Natural spices such as black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, nutmace, ginger, and clove are common in the area.
Fauna, comprising Asian elephant, tigers, Indian bison, sambar deer, Indian wild dog, leopard, barking deer, several species of frogs and fishes etc. are what visitors can expect to see. This picturesque area boasts 265 species of birds including migrants; bird watchers will have a great time.
The Periyar tiger trail, bamboo rafting, boating and elephant rides are some of the most popular activities.
In addition, the plantations and hill towns hold great opportunities for treks and mountain walks.
Best time to visit: September to March
Nearest railway station: Kottayam, about 114 km.
Nearest airport: Madurai in neighbouring Tamilnadu, about 1140 km away; Cochin International Airport, about 190 km.