Kerala dons role of Honeymoon destination for Bidaai

Monday, February 23, 2009, 13:57 by Business Editor

Kerala’s status as a paradise for honeymooners has received a shot in the arm with the lead characters of Star Plus’ television soap Bidaai on a honeymoon jaunt in God’s Own Country.

The cast and crew of Bidaai, which is being telecast on Star Plus TV during the weekdays, were in Kerala for 10 days to shoot the honeymoon episodes of the newlywed sisters, who are also the protagonists in this primetime serial. Bidaai, falling in the Hindi general entertainment genre, is the story of two sisters, Sadhna and Ragini. Life is pleasant for Sadhna as she is beautiful but society is harsh on Ragini, who faces a lot more challenges because she is not good-looking.

Filming for the episodes took place in Munnar, Thekkady, Allepey, Kumarakom and Kovalam. Location scenes take in tea plantations, a beach scene and the romantic houseboat in the backwaters. The honeymoon episodes, will be shown over six instalments of 30 minutes each, covering terrestrial and satellite television starting Monday, 23 February on Star Plus channel.

Television viewing is considered the greatest single domestic pastime in India and the influence of visual media combined with a popular series is a ‘pull’ factor for tourism destinations. “We want to raise the profile of Kerala as a honeymoon destination with the domestic market,” said Sivasankar, Director Kerala Tourism.

Kerala’s coast and countryside is a huge part of our appeal as a destination for couples and the honeymoon episodes will  remind viewers of the landscapes that Kerala is so  famous for and motivate them to visit the place” he added.

As man as 75,912,50 domestic tourists visited Kerala in 2008, posting a 14 per cent increase compared to the previous year. A trip on a houseboat and the backwaters of Kerala are the most popular activities for visitors. The houseboat of Kerala was nominated as one of the most perfect places in the world to propose to your love one, by the influential National Geographic Adventure magazine.

Kerala is still one of the most popular destinations for Indian travelers and foreigners – and not just for honeymoons either. However, the economic recession has hit the travel industry in Kerala badly with houseboats often idle and homestays deserted. If things continue lkike this for too long, while it may make it a lot more affordable for tourists form across India, the industry itself may face serious trouble and losses.

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