Kerala has registered a 6.23 per cent increase in foreign tourist arrivals in 2016, welcoming over 10.38 lakh visitors to the state, tourism minister Kadakampally Surendran said. 

A total of 10,38,419 foreign tourists visited the state in 2016, while 9,77,479 came in 2015, Surendran told the assembly during question hour. On plans to promote tourism, he said, the government proposes to promote rural and cultural tourism in the state. 

A comprehensive scheme to promote the sector by linking rivers and lakes was also under consideration, the minister said. Home stay would be actively encouraged in places like Ponmudi and Kotoor in the district, he added.