Do you love to get drenched in the monsoon drizzle? Enjoy the rain from mountain tops and dance to its rhythms in the valleys?
If so, head to Wayanad to enjoy the district's yearly monsoon tourism carnival, Splash 2023. The event, touted as the second largest tourism trade event of Kerala, was inaugurated recently by Chief Secretary Dr V Venu.
Apart from rain lovers, hundreds of tour operators, tourism property owners, travel writers, vloggers and bloggers, are gathered at Saptha Resorts in Sulthan Bathery to take part in this ‘Business to Business Meet’ (B2B Meet) organised by Wayanad Tourism Organisation (WTO) in association with Kerala Tourism and District Tourism Promotion Council. This year's event is special as it happens post a three-year pandemic-induced break.
Delegates from across the country
Around 700 delegates representing various regions including Nilgiris in Tamil Nadu, Coorg and Mysore in Karnataka, apart from travel operators from Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad, Mumbai and Delhi are participating in the event this year.
“The delegates, as well as tourists who are in the State to experience the monsoon season, get chances to check out events like ‘mud football’, archery competitions, kayaking, farm tours, rain walks, monsoon marathon, various destination tours and visits to tourism properties”, said event coordinator KR Vancheeswaran.
Splash also has a seller expo with around 120 stalls and they include a wide variety of resorts, homestays, service agencies in areas of adventure tourism. Ayurveda treatment packages representing Nilgiri, Coorg, Mysore, and the neighboring districts of the Malabar region of Kerala are also featured in the event. “We host them for three days and ensure that they get a feel of our tourist spots as well as experience our hospitality”, said the coordinator.
Mukesh Jain of Sterling International Tours, who is taking part in the event, said, “There are tourists who fly to overseas destinations to enjoy the rain forests. But we have a splendid monsoon destination here with a rich biodiversity, friendly local people and tourism stakeholders”, he added.
Held in cooperation with local people
It's fairly recently that Wayanad became a talking point among tourists, backpackers, tour operators, and stakeholders of the industry outside of the State. “Splash is one of the reasons why Wayanad catapulted to the world tourism calendar”, said Shylesh CP of WTO. The event, launched in 2009, has become a get-together of rain lovers world over who started trickling down to Wayanad to celebrate the rains, he opined, adding that the event is held in cooperation with the local people. “The event is also held hand-in-hand with the people of this agrarian district. That's why we have unique agrarian programmes including crab catching tour, uriyadi (hitting at the clay pot) and more, organized in cooperation with people from far-flung hamlets. This aspect makes Splash an agrarian village fest as well,” he said.
Splash will conclude on July 15 in Kalpetta with a star-studded music performance and valedictory function.