Tourism Minister P A Mohamed Riyas today said the government will come up with a comprehensive master plan, ‘Mission 2030,’ for tourism sector next year.
Addressing a seminar on tourism held here as part of Keraleeyam, Riyas said the master plan will lay down policies and suggestions on matters including increasing tourism’s contribution to state’s GDP from the current 12 percent to 20 percent. Regarding dry day, a decision will be taken after discussions with the Excise Minister, he said.
Noting that Kerala Tourism’s major focus in 2024 will be leveraging private investment on a larger scale, Shri Riyas said government alone cannot achieve the goal of enhancing the state’s presence on global tourism domain.
Addressing a seminar on tourism held here as part of Keraleeyam, Riyas said rapid decentralization in tourism sector is also inevitable to make the entire state benefit from tourism.
Riyas said the two-day Tourism Investors Meet, scheduled on November 16, is an important endeavour in that direction which will also serve as a venue for discussing new ideas and opportunities with investors.
“We have to increase private investments in tourism sector where cooperative sector and individuals can also partner with the government. The Glass Bridge at Vagamon is an example for PPP model; still we are yet to fully utilize the potential of PPP models,” he observed.
The Minister informed that Heli tourism and Cruise tourism will be developed in partnership with private players next year, besides the renovated 132-year-old Feroke Bridge across Chaliyar River will be dedicated in 2024.
“Work on another bridge at Aluva will commence in 2024. All these projects are being implemented with the cooperation of public and private sectors,” Riyas said.
The innovative ‘Kerala Model’ of tourism development has set a model for the entire world on account of its emphasis on sustainability and inclusivity, he said.
Elaborating the achievements and initiatives of Kerala Tourism in the recent years, Shri Riyas said importantly, the state was able to sustain the flow of revenge tourism post pandemic by introducing trendy attractions like Vagamon Glass Bridge, Floating Bridge, Cinema Tourism and Caravan Tourism as part of leisure tourism activities.
Citing the progress of Wayanad, he said during pre-Covid era, around 11,43,710 domestic tourists visited Wayanad while in 2022, their number rose to 150, 9207. In tourism centres under DTPC, pre-Covid number of domestic tourists was 11, 84,526 with a revenue of Rs 79,98, 719. In 2022-23, the number of domestic visitors are 24,34,756 and revenue stands at Rs 12,213,79,45. During the Puja holidays, around 52,416 footfall of visitors recorded at DTPC tourism centres in Wayanad and got a revenue of Rs 31,73, 785.
Riyas also lauded the tremendous contributions of Kerala Travel Mart Society (KTM) and other stakeholders to the sector, besides the globally-acknowledged activities of State Responsible Tourism Mission (RTM).
Tourism Secretary Biju. K said the tourism sector contributes 10 percent of state’s GDP and total employment generation in this sector is about 15 lakh.
Explaining the spectacular growth of the sector, Shri Biju said the total revenue from the sector in 2022 was Rs 35,168.42 crore while foreign exchange earnings in 2022 was Rs 2,792.42 crore and direct earnings from domestic tourists in the same period was Rs 24,588.96 crore.
State Planning Board Member Santhosh George Kulangara said tourism sector should have projects by making each village and individual consumers of tourism.
International Centre for Responsible Tourism (ICRT) Director Dr Harold Goodwin, who joined the seminar through videoconferencing, said Kerala has already set a remarkable example in RT sector for the world.
Kerala Tourism Additional Director (General) S Prem Krishnan was also present. University of Kerala Senior Professor in Management, IMK, Dr K S Chandrasekar was the moderator.
KITTS Director Dr Dileep Madhav; State Coordinator of Responsible Tourism Mission K Rupeshkumar; CGH Earth Co-founder Jose Dominic; Past President of KTM Baby Mathew; Muddy Boots MD Pradeep Murthy; Kottakkal Arya Vaidyasala Managing Trustee P M Varier; and Paithrukam Hospitality Group MD Sajeev Kurup; were also present.