Looking forward to a rainy vacation

An Indian tourist appreciating the monsoon season.

TEXT OF STORY

Doug Krizner: One of the fastest growing tourist destinations in the world is Kerala, on the south-western coast of India. The World Travel and Tourism Council predicts 11 percent growth during the next five years. Now, monsoons can limit Kerala's perfection. But as Mary-Rose Abraham reports, a new marketing campaign is looking to change that.


Mary-Rose Abraham: Imagine hearing this on the first day of your vacation:

[Sound of a monsoon beginning]

Now, imagine wanting to.

Monsoons have made Kerala a lush tourist destination. During the dry season, that is. Now, Kerala is trying to sell the rain as a reason to visit during summer and fall.

Here's a bit from a promotional video on its tourism website:

Monsoon video promotion: The monsoons in Kerala do not take the pattern of incessant rains continuing for weeks . . . virtually. It rains for a few hours, with sunny interludes.

The tourism department has spent nearly 10 million rupees, or a quarter of a million dollars, marketing the monsoons. Print and radio ads tout the romance of rain, hotel prices are slashed, and cool weather is lauded as the best time for the area's popular therapeutic treatments.

Susan Douglas: We are trying to promote this rain, and we are making it as a tourism product.

Susan Douglas is with the Kerala tourism department. She said they want visitors to get out into the rain, too.

Douglas: For example, we have some rain walks, so that people can walk in the rain. And some other musical programs in the rain.

Nearly 270,000 foreigners visited the state from January to June of this year -- an increase of 20 percent compared to the same time last year. The state hopes for a similar increase when the numbers come in for the second half of the year, encompassing the two monsoons.

Monsoon Promotion: Amidst the joyful laughter of the wind and water, life shapes itself anew, in tune to the pitter-patter of the rains.

In Kerala, I'm Mary-Rose Abraham for Marketplace.

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