Plenty of attractions in store

Responsible tourism

Plenty of attractions in store

The state of Kerala has seen an eight per cent increase in tourism from 2012-2013 and a total revenue of Rs 21,000 crore. Announcing their recent initiatives at a press conference held at Taj Vivanta, S Harikishore, director of Kerala Tourism, said that the focus is going to be on responsible and experiential tourism. 

“For tourism to thrive, we need to have the infrastructure in place. This is why we have come up with new tactical campaigns like the ‘Monsoon campaign’, which focusses on monsoon tourism and helps make Kerala a 365-day destination; the ‘Great Backwaters’ campaign since that is the state’s USP and the ‘Middle East campaign’ to attract foreigners.

Our ‘Seaplane Project’ will be the first-of-its-kind in India, while Project Muziris will promote the heritage sites and cultural diversity of Muziris (ancient seaport) through 25 museums,” said Harikishore. 

He added that festivals like the Nishagandhi Dance Festival, Utsavam and ‘Tribal Dance Festival’ will see tourists throng the state to see the traditional art forms. The state also plans to host ‘Kerala Blog Express’ in March, where bloggers worldwide will travel across Kerala writing about their experiences. 

On how popular it is as a destination for the domestic versus foreign sector, he added, “We get one crore domestic tourists and only eight lakh foreign tourists. 

But out of our Rs 21,000 crore revenue from tourism, 25 per cent comes from those eight lakh foreigners because their travel duration is much longer.”

The shift to the virtual world has also been a big step for Kerala Tourism. Said Harikishore, “Earlier, about 90 per cent of the travellers used tour operators to come to Kerala. Now it’s almost 50-50 as half the tourists are booking online these days. We’ve launched a new website and have a strong presence on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Instagram.”
At the end of the conference, a colourful showcase of various Kerala art forms was seen — from the graceful group dance thiruvathirakali and the unique martial art form kalaripayattu to a kathakali presentation of the navarasa and a ritual fire dance called theechamundi theyyam. 

The chief guest was G Satyavati, director of Karnataka Tourism. Speaking on the occasion, she said that the other three states of South India have a lot to thank Kerala for. “In the tourism industry, our four states don’t compete but complement each other. Kerala was the first state in southern India to break the golden triangle and I hope we create our own southern golden triangle someday,” she said.

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