God's own country
The media, telecommunications, broadcasting and cable services are regulated by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India. The National Family Health Survey – 3, conducted in 2007, ranked Kerala as a state with the highest media exposure in India. Dozens of newspapers are published in Kerala, in nine major languages,but principally Malayalam and English. Most widely circulatingMalayalam-language newspapers are Malayala Manorama, Mathrubhumi, Madhyamam, Deshabhimani, Mangalam, Kerala Kaumudi,Chandrika, Thejas, Udaya keralam, Janayugam, Janmabhumi, Deepika and Siraj Daily. Major Malayalam periodicals includeMathrubhumi, India Today Malayalam, Madhyamam Weekly, Grihalakshmi, Vanitha, Dhanam, Chithrabhumi, and Bhashaposhini. The English reading population is slowly gaining strength in Kerala. The Hindu is the largest read newspaper in the State; followed by Deccan Chronicle, The New Indian Express and The Times of India.
Doordarshan is the state-owned television broadcaster. Multi system operators provide a mix of Malayalam, English and international channels via cable television. Some of the popular Malayalam television channels are Asianet, Surya TV, Kiran TV, Mazhavil Manorama,Manorama News, Indiavision, Kairali TV, Kairali WE, Kairali People, Yes Indiavision, Asianet News, Asianet Plus, Asianet Movies, Amrita TV, Reporter, Jaihind, Jeevan TV, Mathrubhumi News, Kaumudi, Shalom TV, Powervision, Goodness, Athmeyayathra and Media One TV. Television serials, reality shows and the Internet have become major sources of entertainment and information for the people of Kerala. A Malayalam version of Google News was launched in September 2008.A sizeable "people's science" movement has taken root in the state, and such activities as writers' cooperatives are becoming increasingly common.:2 BSNL, Reliance Infocomm,Airtel, Vodafone, Idea, Tata Docomo and Aircel are the major cell phone service providers in the state.Broadband Internet services are widely available throughout the state; some of the major ISPs are BSNL, Asianet Satellite communications, Reliance Communications, Airtel and VSNL. According to the Telecom Regulatory Commission of India (TRAI) report, as of January 2012 the total number of wireless phone subscribers in Kerala is about 34.3 million and the wireline subscriber base is at 3.2 million, accounting for thetelephone density of 107.77.Unlike in many other States, the urban-rural divide is not visible in Kerala with respect to mobile phone penetration.
By 21st century, almost all of the native sports and games from Kerala have either disappeared or become just an art form performed during local festivals; including Poorakkali, Padayani, Thalappandukali, Onathallu, Parichamuttukali, Velakali, Kilithattukali etc. However, Kalaripayattu, regarded as "the mother of all martial arts in the world", as an exception was practised as indigenous martial sport.Another traditional sport of Kerala is the boat race, especially the race of Snake boats.
Cricket and football became popular in the state; both were introduced in Malabar during the British colonial period in the 19th century. Cricketers, like Tinu Yohannan,and Abey Kuruvilla,found places in the national cricket team. However, the Kerala cricket team had never won or performed well at the Ranji Trophy.A cricket club from Kerala, the Kochi Tuskers, played in the Indian Premier League's third season. However, the team was disbanded after the season because of conflict of interests among its franchises.Football is one of the most widely played and watched sport with huge support for club and district level matches.Kerala is one of the major footballing states in India along with West Bengal and Goa and has produced national players of the likes of I. M. Vijayan, C. V. Pappachan, V. P. Sathyan, and Jo Paul Ancheri. The Kerala state football team had won the Santhosh Trophyfive times; in 1973, 1992, 1993, 2001 and 2004. They were also the runner-ups for eight times.
Among the prominent athletes hailing from the state, P. T. Usha, Shiny Wilson and M.D. Valsamma are both Padma Shri as well asArjuna Award winners while K. M. Beenamol and Anju Bobby George are Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna as well as Arjuna Award winners. T. C. Yohannan, Suresh Babu, Sinimol Paulose, Angel Mary Joseph, Mercy Kuttan, K. Saramma, K. C. Rosakutty and Padmini Selvan are the other Arjuna Award winners from Kerala.Volleyball is another popular sport and is often played on makeshift courts on sandy beaches along the coast. Jimmy George was a notable Indian volleyball player, rated in his prime as among the world's ten best players.Other popular sports include badminton, basketball and kabaddi.
Its culture and traditions, coupled with its varied demographics, have made Kerala one of the most popular tourist destinations in India. National Geographic's Traveller magazine names Kerala as one of the "ten paradises of the world"and "50 must see destinations of a lifetime".Travel and Leisure names Kerala as "One of the 100 great trips for the 21st century".In 2012,it overtook Taj Mahal to be the number one travel destination in Google's search trends for India.Kerala's beaches, backwaters, mountain ranges and wildlife sanctuaries are the major attractions for both domestic and international tourists. The city of Kochi ranks first in the total number of international and domestic tourists in Kerala.Varkala beach in Thiruvananthapuram is rated as 9th best bargain adventures 2013 in the world by The Guardian, UK. It also referred Varkala as new Goa.
Until the early 1980s, Kerala was a relatively unknown destination to other states of the country.In 1986 the government of Kerala declared tourism as an industry and it was the first state in India to do so. Marketing campaigns launched by the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation, the government agency that oversees tourism prospects of the state, resulted in the growth of the tourism industry. Many advertisements branded Kerala with a catchy tagline Kerala, God's Own Country.Today, Kerala tourism is a global brand and regarded as one of the destinations with highest recall.In 2006, Kerala attracted 8.5 million tourist arrivals, an increase of 23.68% over the previous year, making the state one of the fastest-growing destinations in the world.In 2011, tourist inflow to Kerala crossed the 10-million mark.