Kochi: Foreign tourists are flocking to idyllic hamlets of the state like never before, thanks to the innovative 'Relish Onam feast at villages' project of the Kerala Tourism.
Hundreds of visitors from countries like the UK, US, Israel and Spain had memorable experiences enjoying sumptuous 'Onam sadhya' along with village households, overnight stays at their houses and getting soaked in the scenic beauty of the rural areas.
"So far we've conducted 168 'Onam Special Experiential packages' under which a family spends a day and night at a village house. Of this 112 families were foreign nationals. Surprisingly Kannur emerged as the top destination for tourists opting for the package," State Responsible Tourism Mission coordinator Rupesh Kumar K told DC.
The programme, being organised by the Responsible Tourism Mission under the Kerala Tourism Department, is being offered till September 30.
"A total of 2468 Onam feasts, multi-course vegetarian meal served on plantain leaves featuring 23 dishes, were provided to tourists by households at rural areas. Also 112 'Grama Yatra' packages were extended to tourists. The visitors could tour select scenic locations at interior areas with local households as guides," the official said.
The department rolled out the innovative programme to woo foreign tourists to the state during Onam by involving select households already registered with it under the ''Experience Ethnic Cuisine' project.
"We got a chance to experience the village life in God's Own Country, away from bustles of fast city life and more importantly joining the local populace in celebrating the festive with Onam sadya and cultural events like Thiruvathira," 68-year old Anna Rodrigs from Spain wrote in her Guest comment.
All the tourists availing the programme are presented Onam Gifts on completion of the tours. With the department getting wide response, the packages are being offered till October six though the schemes were intended only till September 30.