Kerala made a decisive surge towards ending two years of pandemic-riddled lull in its tourism activities, as Kerala Travel Mart (KTM) concluded today with Chief Secretary Dr V.P. Joy hailing the country’s biggest buyer-seller meet as a springboard to regaining visitors after Covid-19.
The four-day KTM-2022 has been an exemplary model for public-private partnership, triggering a mood of enthusiasm among the state’s tourism stakeholders, he said at the valedictory ceremony of the May 5-8 meet in the state’s commercial capital Kochi.
“The government will provide the KTM Society and the entire tourism fraternity all its support to revitalise travel industry in Kerala,” Dr Joy told the final session of the international event at Willingdon Island.
Noting that Kerala has figured on the list of the UN’s Human Development Index during the past three years, the top bureaucrat highlighted the role of tourists for the state’s economy to progress steadily. “We have both beautiful nature and warm people. We must strengthen tourism infrastructure,” he pointed out at the end of KTM-2022 that had delegates from 69 countries holding 55,000 business meets.
While brainstorming on various steps that would rejuvenate tourism in a post-COVID era, experts from across the country and abroad addressed four seminars. The paperless event was held in a space of 1.5 lakh square-feet at Sagara and Samudrika convention centres.
KTM Society President Baby Mathew Somatheeram, chairing the session, said the mart will be followed by travel package for 300 delegates to the state’s northern, central and southern regions. “We have also arranged a chartered flight to Kannur this Tuesday. They will have a week’s local tour to know more about Malabar, which is our new focus of tourism,” he added.
KTM 2022, which featured 325 stalls that were open to the public since the afternoon of Sunday, gave a platform to around 1,500 buyers, more than 300 of them international.
The others who addressed the valedictory function were KTM Past Presidents E.M. Najeeb and Riaz Ahmed. KTM Society Joint Secretary KC. Harikumar welcomed the gathering, and Secretary Jose Pradeep proposed thanks.
The function also saw a farewell to K.S. Shine as the CEO of KTM Society. Responsible Tourism State Coordinator K. Rupeshkumar, KTM Vice-President James Kodianthara and Treasurer Jibran Asif were also present.
The seminars in the past three days were on ‘Kerala: Attractions Beyond Nature’, ‘God’s Own Country – Version 2.0’, ‘Potential Areas of Tourism in Kerala’ and ‘Changing Trends in Travel’.
KTM-2022, on Thursday, got off to a grand start when Governor Arif Mohammad Khan inaugurated the event in the presence of top industrialist M.A. Yusuff Ali. The opening ceremony in Grand Hyatt of Bolgatty, which began with a cultural show, was preceded by a curtain-raiser to the second edition of Kerala Tourism’s IPL-modelled Champions Boat League water-race extravaganza from post-monsoon Onam festival later this year.
The 2000-constituted KTM Society, which is the country’s biggest organisation in the travel and tourism segment, has been working towards reviving the industry since the spread of the novel coronavirus two years ago.