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.

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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.

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