Kerala capital is all set to host the first focused Tourism Investors Meet (TIM) on November 16, showcasing before potential investors and stakeholders an array of investment options in destinations, products and initiatives that firmly mark the state as an all-season experiential tourism hub, Tourism Minister P A Mohamed Riyas said today.
TIM, to be inaugurated Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan at Hyatt Regency in the city on November 16 at 12 noon, will take forward the post-pandemic momentum gained by the state, Riyas told a press conference here.
The inaugural session of the TIM will see the presence of state Finance Minister KN Balagopal; Revenue and Housing Minister K Rajan; Chief Secretary, Dr Venu V.; Chairman, Kerala Tourism Infrastructure Ltd (KTIL) SK Sajeesh, Tourism Secretary K Biju, Tourism Director S Prem Krishnan, and Planning Board Member (Tourism) Santhosh George Kulangara.
Tourism industry is a highly promising sector for Kerala, whose full investment potential is yet to be tapped, and TIM will make major strides in that direction, Riyas said.
Considering the highly transient nature of tourism in today’s world, it is vital for Kerala to update, upgrade and reorient the key sector to live up to the current trends, demands and choices. TIM is coinciding with state’s significant progress in the sector by bagging a host of global accolades, he said.
The state government has plenty of landed and physical assets at its disposal at locations of immense tourism possibilities all over Kerala, which need to be developed in a sustainable manner to turn the entire state into one of world’s prime all-weather experiential tourism hubs, Riyas said.
Delegates, including investors, business leaders and stakeholders representing travel and tourism industry from different parts of the country and abroad have confirmed participation in TIM. The thrust areas and locations that need more investments will be unveiled before them.
It is significant that this high-profile conclave is happening in the backdrop of Kerala clocking the highest ever record in domestic tourist arrivals in the first nine months of the current financial year.
TIM will further firm up the strategic state-industry partnership that made Kerala Tourism a strong global brand and a widely-appreciated model by its emphasis on sustainability and inclusivity. New ideas, practices and products should be leveraged by joint ventures, public-private partnership (PPP) models and operational arrangements, Riyas added.
He said the Glass Bridge at Vagamon, which is an example for PPP model, registered around 50,000 visitors since its opening and another such initiative, the floating bridge at Chavakkad, recorded 20,000 visitors in forty days.
Investment opportunities in various segments that make a visit to Kerala a complete experience – like rural stays, eco-tourism, adventure activities in panoramic hill and forest settings, responsible tourism that preserves nature and heritage with active participation of local communities and projects like Caravan Tourism and Destination Challenge will be rolled out at TIM, the Minister said.
Apart from Business to Business (B2B) sessions, the event will have seminars and workshop sessions on tourism trends, project pitch sessions and roundtable discussions.
State scripts history luring 159.69 lakh domestic tourists in Jan-Sept; registers 19.34% growth
The state attracted 159.69 lakh visitors from within the country during the first nine months of 2023, as compared to 133.81 lakh during the corresponding period last year, registering an impressive growth of 19.34 per cent, the Minister said.
This shows an increase of 25.88 lakh tourists in the nine months of 2023 than that in 2022, marking a 21.12 per cent growth when compared with the pre-pandemic figures.
Ernakulam recorded the maximum number of domestic footfalls attracting 33,18,391 tourists, followed by Idukki (26,61,934), Thiruvananthapuram (25,61,787), Thrissur (18,22,020), and Wayanad (12,87,166).
“This steady surge in the tourist footfalls indicates that 2023 is going to be a record-breaking year in the history of Kerala Tourism as far as domestic visitors are concerned,” he said.
The appreciable upswing also reflected the success of the upfront initiatives that Kerala Tourism has been taking, making tourism not only a commercial enterprise but also a sustainable and experiential pursuit, Minister Riyas pointed out.
Kerala also recorded an uptick in foreign tourist arrivals with their numbers pegged at 4,47,327 in the first nine months of 2023 as compared to 2,06,852 during the corresponding period a year earlier, registering a 116.25 per cent growth.
Ernakulam registered the highest number of foreign tourists with a figure of 2,04,549, followed by Thiruvananthapuram (98,179), Idukki (68,798), Alappuzha (19,685), and Kottayam (15,112).
Tourism Director S Prem Krishnan; KTIL MD Dr Manoj Kumar K and KTIL Chairman S K Sajeesh were also present at the press meet.