Kerala beckons visitors, investors to trigger tourism recoveryTravel And Tour World

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Published on : Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Kerala, a much sought-after South Asian holiday destination, is rolling out a spate of innovative projects and initiatives to fully tap the tourism potential of the state as it readies for a bounce back from the pandemic-induced stagnation.

The south Indian state, renowned for spellbinding scenic terrains, expects to partner with UAE-based investors and non-resident Indians to speed up the revival of its Rs100 billion tourism industry.

P A Mohamed Riyas, the state’s minister for Tourism said that given the rising optimism that the worst is behind us, they have lined up several attractive investment opportunities for overseas and NRI investors in the travel and hospitality sector.

Kerala Week at Expo 2020 is showcasing the state’s myriad tourist attractions as well as new projects that offer investment possibilities in MICE facilities, resorts and hotels, caravans and caravan parks, farm-stays, adventure holidays and travel and tour operations.

The delegation includes D. Venu V, Additional Chief Secretary (Tourism) and VR Krishna Teja, Director, Tourism.

Major initiatives that have been designed to enhance Kerala’s appeal as a tourist haven include ‘Exploring the Unexplored’ destinations programme, opening up the untapped Malabar region, caravan tourism, safe and regulated adventure tourism, experiential tourism, workcations and active holidays.

Before the pandemic, Kerala was consistently one of the best performing tourist hotspots in India, registering 18 million domestic visitors and 1.1 million foreign tourist arrivals in 2019.

With an array of new programmes and projects, we are on track to exceed those levels of traffic once we get out of the pandemic crisis, said Riyas.

The recently launched ‘Caravan Tourism’ is expected to provide a riveting experience to visitors, while houseboats will continue to be one of the top holiday experiences in the state known for its enchanting lagoons and backwaters.

Caravanning will help Kerala tourism expand beyond established destinations, Riyas said.

He said Kerala has an investor-friendly institutional mechanism to provide quick approvals and mandatory clearances for investment proposals.

When the pandemic threat subsides, Ayurveda/health and wellness holidays will become important, for which the state is well-positioned to attract clients from the Middle East for wellness and rejuvenation holidays.

A must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts, Kerala is well positioned to attract young travellers with soft adventure activities in the hills and forests of Western Ghats.

Kerala’s forests cover nearly 30 per cent of the total land area and there are 15 wildlife sanctuaries, two tiger reserves, five national parks, said the minister.

Kerala’s tourism development is centred on the idea of Responsible Tourism with community participation. Sustainable growth is the right approach to development, said Riyas.

Stressing the south Indian state’s strong government-to-government relations with the UAE and people-to-people social and cultural ties, Riyas, who has made his mark as a dynamic youth leader, said he is confident that tourism would be a key driver in promoting the two-way ties as visitor traffic between the Emirates and Kerala are expected to pick up significantly in future.

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