Kerala Tourism ticks all boxes
The pall of gloom that had descended in the wake of the August floods appears to have been lifted. God’s Own Country has bounced back.
The biennial showpiece event – Kerala Travel Mart (KTM) 2018 – turned out to be speak for themselves: 35,000 business meets involving 1,635 buyers shortlisted from 7,000 applicants (545 of them from 66 foreign countries – the highest in the KTM history so far), 325 sellers in 400-odd stalls and the highest number of foreign buyers from the US and the trust of global tourism industry in Kerala.
“It is historic, coming as it is a month after the worst natural calamity our people faced. I even wonder how our tourism would have got back to track but for this KTM edition coming at the right time,” Kerala Tourism Secretary, Rani George said about the event.
Her sentiments were echoed by Kerala Tourism Director, P Bala Kiran. “KTM lent a smile of hope to faces in the industry in contrast to a general gloom that prevailed among its captains till a week ago. This edition proved that KTM is not a celebratory event, but a business meet. It’s a positive lesson not just for us in Kerala, but the whole of India and even the world,” he noted.
KTM announced plans to reinvent its decade-old responsible tourism, update customised packages, strengthen tools of publicity, broaden the tourism map and spruce up heritage spots to increase the footfalls. It promoting public-private partici hospitality, wellness and culture.
Take the example of Nefertiti, the Egyptian themed luxury vessel of the Kerala Shipping and Inland Navigation Corporation (KSINC). Set to be launched this month, it may chart a new course in cruise tourism in Kerala. Named after the beautiful Egyptian queen Nefertiti, it will have several features to remind people aboard of one of the oldest civilisations of the world. The Chaliyar River Challenge 2018 (a 68-km kayaking championship) will also be held as per the schedule.
The recent installation of a giant sculpture of the Jatayu bird mentioned in the Ramayana, a new addition in the inventory of Kerala Tourism, and the Muziris Project are sure to woo visitors.
Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran said, “A survey will be conducted seeking the possibility of offering job opportunities through tourism for people in the state’s flood- hit areas. Students of Kerala Institute Tourism and Travel Studies (KITTS) will conduct the survey among the natives in this regard.” The government has earmarked ` 700 crore for the tourism sector under the Nava Kerala reconstruction activities. The administration is also mulling modifying certain laws for better tourism practices in the state, he said.