The selection was made by readers who responded to the survey conducted by the international travel magazine Conde Nast Traveller.
This is the third in the series of popularity awards that the state has received in the recent past, with Lonely Planet citing it as the best family destination in India and Travel + Leisure magazine listing it as a top honeymooners' destination, according to a press release in Thiruvananthapuram.
Kerala Tourism Deputy Director K Radhakrishnan accepted the travel award at a function held at New Delhi yesterday.
The annual awards, in their sixth year, honour the best in travel, tourism and hospitality with winners in various categories picked by readers of the magazine through a voting process spanning across two months.
Principal Secretary (Tourism) Venu V. said the award reaffirmed the state's reputation of being a tourist's paradise.
Kerala, which had won the runner-up prize in the same category in 2015, shared the top honour with Goa this year.
Although the state's main attractions remain the unspoilt beaches, the web of tangled backwaters criss-crossing the land and the dances and culture, the state is constantly evolving by popularising new attractions that offer the best in leisure. The award reflects the diversity of leisure-based offerings in Kerala today as well as the quality of their branding, said U V Jose, Director, Kerala Tourism.
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