The tourism industry in Kerala has showed its strong character post the devastating floods and the way it made the revival is astounding, Union Tourism Minister of State (Independent Charge) K J Alphons said here on Friday.
“I give emphasis on Kerala Tourism’s ability to recoup after a severe natural calamity as an epitome wherever I go. We bounced back defeating all the never-seen-before challenges. It gives the positive sign that tourism has regained its vigour post the flood,” he remarked.
Alphons made this observation while inaugurating the exhibition stalls and pavilions at the tenth edition of Kerala Travel Mart (KTM) at Samudrika and Sagara Convention Centre, Willingdon Island here.
On the occasion, he also inaugurated the pavilion of Responsible Tourism put up by Kerala’s Department of Tourism. Later, he made a round of the various exhibition stalls and pavilions.
Rani George, Tourism Secretary, Kerala; Baby Mathew, President, KTM Society; M Vijayakumar, Chairman, KTDC; E M Najeeb, Senior Vice President, Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO); and Abraham George, former President, KTM, accompanied the minister.
The four-day KTM, which was inaugurated by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday (Sept 27), has its focus on the Malabar as a core theme. The KTM-2018 features 1,600 buyers, one-third of them from 66 foreign countries. Public-private participation is a key feature of the conclave with participation of delegates from the fields of travel and tour, hotels and resorts, home-stay, houseboat, Ayurveda centres and cultural organisations.
The mart provides a platform to world-class buyers and sellers a platform to interact and promote businesses, giving a fresh impetus to Kerala’s tourism industry that generates an annual turnover of Rs 34,000 crore and provides employment to 25 lakh people.
The KTM, with 325 sellers in 400 stalls, has 1,635 buyers who are top functionaries of firms in tourism industry within the country and outside. The number of foreign buyers is 545, and they come from 66 countries, including USA, Russia, Japan, China, Australia and Britain. As for the domestic buyers, their number stands at 1,090.
Buyers and sellers meet will go on all the three days. On Sunday, the public will be permitted free entry, while the KTM business meets at the Willingdon Island are only for delegates who need to register in advance.