Kerala regionally referred to as Keralam (കേരളം), is a state in the south – west region of India on the Malabar Coast. It was formed on 1 November 1956 as per the States Reorganization Act by combining various Malayalam-speaking regions. Kerala is the twelfth largest state by population and is divided into 14 districts. Malayalam (മലയാളം) is the most widely spoken and official language of the state. The state capital is Thiruvananthapuram; other major cities include Kochin, Kozhikode, Kollam and Trissur.
The tag line Kerala – God’s Own Country was adopted in its tourism promotions and became a global Super brand. Kerala is regarded as one of the destinations with the highest brand recall. In 2010, Kerala attracted 0.66 million foreign tourist arrivals.
Kerala is an established tourist destination for both Indians and non-Indians alike. Kerala is popular for her beaches, backwaters, mountain ranges and wildlife sanctuaries. Other popular attractions in the state include the beaches at Kovalam, Kappad, Cherai and Varkala; backwater tourism and lake resorts around Vembanad Lake, Kumarakom and Alapuzha; hill stations and resorts at Munnar, Wayanad, Nelliampathi, Vagamon and Ponmudi and national parks and wildlife sanctuaries at Periyar and Eravikulam National Park. The “backwaters” region—an extensive network of interlocking rivers, lakes, and canals that centre on Alleppey, Kumarakom, and Punnamada—also see heavy tourist traffic. Heritage sites, such as the Padmanabhapuram Palace, Hill Palace, Mattancherry Palace are also visited. The city of Kochi ranks first in the total number of international and domestic tourists in Kerala. To further promote tourism in Kerala Grand Kerala Shopping Festival was started by the Government of Kerala in 2007. Since then it has been held every year during the December–January period.