Spaniards had a brush with the mesmerizing grandeur of God’s Own Country as Kerala showcased its various facets of life and culture at the just-concluded FITUR 2019 in Madrid , the world’s second largest tourism and travel fair, with visitors and trade professionals exhibiting tremendous interest in Brand Kerala.
The pavilion of Kerala Tourism, built on the themes of ‘Houseboats’, ‘Backwaters’ and ‘Mohiniyattam performance’, whipped up huge excitement at the five-day travel meet, which concluded on Sunday (January 27).
Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran inaugurated the India Pavilion along with the Indian ambassador to Spain, Sanjay Verma. Among the dignitaries present on the occasion were Suman Billa, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India; Rani George, Secretary, Kerala Tourism; Saravanan Balasubramanian, Second Secretary, Embassy of India and Jeeva Maria Joy, Third Secretary, Press Information and Culture, Embassy of India in Madrid.
Surendran and George held a series of meetings with key trade and media representatives at the event to further boost tourism potential of the state.
“FITUR 2019 was a major international tourism event for Kerala after it suffered huge losses in the wake of last year’s natural calamity. We sent the message across that the state has fully overcome the impact of the calamity and has been attracting tourists from across the globe since then,” the minister said.
George noted that the fair turned out to be the right platform to energise tourism business and forge new trade alliances. “On the basis of inputs we got at the fair, we would try to find innovative solutions to the changing demands of the market. This is imperative to further boost tourism potential of the state,’’ she said.
The Kerala stall showcased a range of the state’s natural beauty — serene beaches, emerald backwaters, coconut palms – as also houseboats. There was also live Mohiniyattam performance at the pavilion, catching the eyeballs of visitors and business-seeking professionals alike.
The Kerala delegation included three trade partners from the private sector – CGH Group of Hotels, Pioneer Travels and Xandari. FITUR show, a meeting point of tourism professionals the world over, is considered as the second biggest gathering of travel and tourism professionals. The fair has grown 8.3% and this year’s edition was its biggest ever with the participation of 886 stand-holder exhibitors and 10,487 companies from 165 countries and regions.
This was for the 15th year on the trot that Kerala Tourism participated in FITUR, which provides a platform for the global tourist industry to promote commercial agreements and hammer out actionable strategies for growth of tourism.