Ad­ven­ture and Ayurveda in Ker­ala

Kadakam­pally Suren­dran, Min­is­ter for Co-Op­er­a­tion, Tourism and Devas­wom, Gov­ern­ment of Ker­ala, re­veals their plans to de­velop new tourism prod­ucts in Ker­ala and the way for­ward to bring in more tourists.

TravTalk - India - - STATES - NISHA VERMA

QWhat kind of growth did Ker­ala tourism wit­ness in the last year?

Ker­ala hosted 14,673,520 do­mes­tic tourist ar­rivals in 2017 with an in­crease of 11.39 per cent as com­pared to pre­vi­ous year. In 2017, the state has reg­is­tered the high­est per­cent­age of growth in do­mes­tic tourist ar­rivals since last nine years. Ker­ala Tourism has wit­nessed pos­i­tive signs of at­tain­ing the set goal in the do­mes­tic tourism cir­cuit with an in­crease of 15 lakh new tourists, as per the lat­est sta­tis­tics.

Also, Ker­ala has wit­nessed a growth of 5.15 per cent in for­eign tourist ar­rivals, while at­tract­ing 1,091,870 FTAs in 2017. The State Tourism Department has recorded 33,383.68 crore in to­tal rev­enue gen­er­ated from the sec­tor as com­pared to

29,658.56 crore last year.

QWhat tar­gets have you set for 2018? Ev­ery year, the Tourism Department of Ker­ala aims to in­crease do­mes­tic tourists’ ar­rival by over 8 per cent and in­ter­na­tional tourists’ ar­rival by 13 per cent. The state has been fol­low­ing a com­pre­hen­sive tourism de­vel­op­ment plan to dou­ble the num­ber of for­eign tourist ar­rivals and in­crease do­mes­tic tourist ar­rivals by 50 per cent, by 2021.

QWhat kind of steps are you tak­ing to pro­mote ad­ven­ture sports in the state?

Ker­ala of­fers a wide range of ad­ven­ture ac­tiv­i­ties, in­clud­ing track­ing, paraglid­ing, river raft­ing, kayak­ing, wildlife sanc­tu­ar­ies, etc. The lat­est de­vel­op­ment in this seg­ment is Ad­ven­ture Rock Hill at the Jatayu Earth Cen­tre, which is now op­er­a­tional for public in groups.

The State Gov­ern­ment has planned to de­velop 10 eco­tourism cir­cuits to con­nect var­i­ous forests to pro­mote green tourism. The Gov­ern­ment of Ker­ala has also en­vi­sioned

300-crore project for nine rivers in Kan­nur and Kasaragod to pro­mote river tourism and is all set to launch a host of ad­ven­ture and ac­tiv­ity-based tourism projects in Alap­puzha, Mal­abar re­gion, Wayanad, etc. such as paraglid­ing, pad­dling and kayak­ing.

QWhat new tourism prod­ucts will you fo­cus on this year?

Ker­ala Tourism has been ex­ten­sively fo­cus­ing on pro­mot­ing North­ern Ker­ala, which has im­mense un­tapped tourism po­ten­tial. With the aim to in­crease the ge­o­graph­i­cal spread of tourist ar­rivals to the state, Ker­ala Tourism plans to pro­mote its Mal­abar re­gion ag­gres­sively through a ` 325 crore project, which in­cludes un­ex­plored des­ti­na­tions such as Kozhikode, Wayanand, Bekal and Kan­nur. Un­der the new tourism pol­icy, the tourism department has pro­posed to es­tab­lish 1000 new clas­si­fied home­s­tays in the state at des­ti­na­tions like Mal­abar re­gion. Em­pha­sis­ing on cruise tourism and tar­get­ing high­spend­ing tourists, Ker­ala Tourism has en­vis­aged a ‘River Cruise Tourism’ project on the model of the Nile Cruise, de­vel­op­ing the 450km in­land wa­ter­ways from Hoz­durg to Ko­valam. Fur­ther, Ker­ala Tourism has planned to de­velop ‘Malanadu cruise’, a river cruise project.

QITB Ber­lin is around the cor­ner and you are heav­ily fo­cus­ing on the Europe mar­ket. What ini­tia­tives have you taken in this re­gard?

Ker­ala Tourism has al­ready geared up for a three­month long in­ter­na­tional cam­paign to lure for­eign tourists. The tourism department has listed out as many as 12 trade fairs and 24 road­shows un­der this tri­umphant pro­mo­tional cam­paign for the FY 2017-18 with an en­hanced bud­get al­lo­ca­tion of ` 11.5 crore. We are look­ing for­ward to par­tic­i­pate in ITB Ber­lin (March 7-11) fol­lowed by a road show in France at Mar­seille (March 13).

The tourism department has listed out as many as 12 trade fairs and 24 road shows un­der this tri­umphant pro­mo­tional cam­paign for the FY 2017-18 with an en­hanced bud­get al­lo­ca­tion of ` 11.5 crore. We 7-11, 2018) fol­lowed by a road show in Kadakam­pally Suren­dran Min­is­ter for Co-Op­er­a­tion Tourism and Devas­wom, Gov­ern­ment of Ker­ala

QHow has been the re­sponse to Ayur­bodha pro­gramme launched re­cently?

Ayur­bodha is a unique tourism prod­uct with the aim of blend­ing tourism and the knowl­edge of Ayurveda. The fo­cus was on ba­sic home reme­dies and diet regimes, Ayurvedic prac­tices for re­ju­ve­na­tion of the body and soul, se­crets of pres­sure points, ba­sics of Pan­chakarma treat­ment and the use of medic­i­nal plants. Ker­ala is also pop­u­lar for this ini­tia­tive in en­rich­ing ev­ery vis­i­tor's ex­pe­ri­ence.

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