a significant portion of the Rs83 crore fund allocated for marketing and promotion will be spent during this period. The state is prepping to launch a campaign called ‘Kerala is back’
Battered and bruised, but not down and out. After the deluge, Kerala is readying to welcome a flood of tourists. ‘God’s own country’ is now laying down the red carpet to regain its status as one of India’s most favoured holiday destinations.
The state has recently conducted a ‘Tourism Readiness Survey’ with a detailed district-wise and destination-wise analysis of places, roads and other modes of connectivity. The survey revealed that only a handful of resorts needed to become operational. Based on this readiness, Kerala Tourism has drawn up time-bound action plans.
“65 out of the 70 tourist destinations we have in Kerala are operational and the rest too is being worked on. Tourists will not have to compromise on any destination while drawing up an itinerary for Kerala,” said P Bala Kiran, director of Kerala Tourism.
According to Bala Kiran, while the loss to business worth Rs 1,500 crore approximately were incurred by the state, loss to property in terms of tourism was to the tune of Rs 500 crore.
However, the tourism department is still upbeat about the upcoming season. “Fortunately April to September is a lean period for tourism in Kerala and October to March is when tourists arrive here. We are ready to receive guests and give them services like we do any other year,” Bala Kiran added.
As it turns out, in the last fiscal, Kerala recorded foreign tourist arrival of 1.1 million and a domestic arrival of 14.6 million. FY 17-18 also recorded the highest ever year on year growth of 10.94 per cent. In the present fiscal the state saw a growth of 18 per cent in the first quarter and 15 per cent in the following quarter against the same period last fiscal. The third quarter numbers are expected to be much lower. “Third quarter is anyway not the best time to measure tourism growth in Kerala because it falls in the lean period but we are hoping with our initiatives we will maintain the annual growth we touched last year,” Bala Kiran said.
According to him a significant portion of the Rs 83 crore fund allocated for marketing and promotion will be spent during this period. The state is prepping to launch a campaign called ‘Kerala is back’.
The Kerala Travel Mart (KTM), the biennial Tourism Trade Fair that showcases the entire spectrum of Kerala’s tourism industry to the world, will be organised in Kochi between September 27 and September 30. Till date, 545 international tourism buyers from 66 countries and 1,090 domestic tourism buyers have registered for KTM.
The Kochi-Muziris Biennale (KBM) will be held between December 12 and March 29, 2019. “This biggest contemporary art event in South Asia will be used as a platform to showcase the resilience of Kerala, and it will have artists from all over the world taking part,” he added.
Malabar region in North Kerala is also to be promoted in a big way after the opening of the Kannur airport soon. The Kerala government is also considering organizing the Champions Boat League this year as planned earlier sending out a message that Kerala’s waters are also safe for adventurous activities as well.
Additionally, the trade body of the state Kerala Travel Mart has submitted a proposal to the state government with a four-point agenda to revive business in Kerala.
“We have proposed the year to be declared as moratorium period for hotels and operators who have taken loans because they have already suffered huge losses and hence it is difficult to gather funds for repayment. We have also requested banks to give out fresh loans to those who need to reconstruct properties," said Abraham George, member, National Tourism Advisory Council."The government of India allows employees to convert their hometown leave travel concession (LTC) to visit Jammu and Kashmir and the Northeast. We have suggested that Kerala could be included for a limited time to boost immediate domestic demand. Lastly, we have requested the Ministry of Tourism to highlight Kerala in their Incredible India campaigns,” he said.