Kerala airports make VoA history
The introduction of Tourist Visa- on-Arrival ( VoA) facility at Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi airports marks a new chapter for Kerala Tourism…
TT BUREAU The
state of Kerala had been beneficiary of the roll out of the Visa-on-Arrival scheme to new airports. In fact, it has now become the only state that offers VoA at its two airports. Thiruvananthapuram and
The introduction of VoA facility at Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi airports will help attract more foreign visitors to the state
Kochi airports are among only eight in the country to offer VoA. It was rolled out in the first phase in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai. Two
Kerala gets over 1 crore tourists that consist of 9 lakh foreign tourists and over 94 lakh domestic tourists
other airports that got VoA facility in the second phase are Bengaluru and Hyderabad. Kerala is also the only state to have two airports offering the service.
“The introduction of VoA facility at Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi airports marks a new chapter for Kerala Tourism and will help attract more foreign visitors to the state,” said Anil Kumar, Minister of Tourism, Kerala. VoA is currently available for citizens of 11 coun- tries–Japan, Singapore, Finland, Luxembourg, New Zealand, the Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar and Indonesia. These countries are markets where Kerala Tourism sees vast potential and is beginning to make significant inroads. As per the statistics released by Kerala tourism, tourist arrivals from Japan rose by around 56 per cent in five years to 11,440 in 2012; and the arrivals from Finland more than doubled over the period to 5,160 last year. Tourist arrivals from countries such as New Zealand, Singapore and The Philippines have similarly risen between 75 per cent and 90 per cent since 2008.
This year, Kerala is looking at the jump in remittances led by devaluation in rupee as an opportunity to return to the double digit. As per Suman Billa, Secretary, Kerala Tourism, “Kerala has not looked back ever since it started promoting tourism in 1996. In fact, presently, Kerala gets over 1 crore tourists that consist of 9 lakh foreign tourists and over 94 lakh domestic tourists.”
“We have been growing at an average of about 13-14
per cent in the past decade. Last few years had seen growth of 8-9 per cent, which is still robust from global standards, due to slowdown in the global economy. Kerala gets about ` 65,000 crore remittances every year. Due to the temporary depreciation in the value of Indian rupee, the value of these remittances has already increased by 20 per cent. Moreover, it will positively effect the ` 20,000 crore turnover generated by tourism,” added Billa.
Kerala has just ended hosting two of the big travel trade associations’ annual convention including IATO and FHRAI. Billa looks at such trade events as a good platform for the destination to update the key stakeholders in the travel and hospitality sector. “Travel trade events with over 1,000 delegates from travel and hospitality industry help us to apprise the industry on the various developments, changes and new initiatives being worked out in the state,” said Billa.
“Many of the delegates go for post-event excursions and experiences the various travel products. One of our key initiatives that will cut the travel time to many strategic attractions is the Seaplane service. A traveller could use the seaplane service and reach Munnar from Kochi in 20 mins instead of a four- hour road journey,” he added.
Suman Billa Secretary Kerala Tourism
Anil Kumar Minister of Tourism Kerala