Kerala plans to invigorate tourism in Malabar by renewing its focus on the travel map of the region, Kerala Tourism Director V.R. Krishna Teja said today.
The department is developing tourism destinations upstate and making full use of them, he revealed out during a visit to this city to oversee the preparations for next month’s Kerala Travel Mart (KTM), billed as the country’s largest tourism industry congregation.
Alongside its emphasis on Malabar, Kerala Tourism is going ahead with giving worldwide publicity to its renewed post-pandemic activities such as Caravan Tourism, Champions Boat League and Responsible Tourism, Shri Teja said, pointing out. These have been accorded priority at the four-day KTM 2022 that is to be inaugurated on May 5, he added.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will declare the KTM open at Grand Hyatt in Bolgatty, while the venues for the subsequent proceedings will be Sagara and Samudrika convention centres at Willingdon Island.
“Unlike the previous edition, KTM 2022 has more specialised segments. We have sellers who are into core tourism activities such caravan, houseboats, ayurveda, adventure, plantation and backwater resorts besides wedding destination and MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions)” Shri Teja said, underscoring that the event has buyers from 69 countries and 25 states of the country.
“We will do aggressive pitching. We have our own strengths,” he reiterated, adding MICE tourism was already back in the state. “Meetings and weddings are on in Kerala. The state is hosting G20 Troika meeting this December,” he recalled, revealing the department’s plan to conduct road shows in all the big cities of the country and 30 major places abroad.
Ernakulam District Collector Jafar Malik said the participation of delegates from nearly six dozen nations at the upcoming KTM will further raise Kochi’s reputation as a travel destination the world over. “We will be able to present our tourism products to an international audience,” he noted, adding that the district administration has been extending full-fledged support and cooperation to the KTM.
“We can showcase caravan tourism and, say, products such as digital marketing that have gained new vitality after Covid-19,” he said. “We will continue to highlight our culture.”
KTM Society President Baby Mathew said the upcoming event will give fresh lease of life not just to tourism but other vital industries of the economy. “With as buyers from many as 69 countries coming, KTM 2022 is set to open Kerala’s tourism widows to the whole world,” he said. “MICE tourism is on its way back, and more relaxations in post-Covid era will further boost the segment.”
To boost Malabar tourism, KTM Society will be taking the event’s buyers from Kochi to upstate Kannur on chartered flights, he added.
Preparations are on for the exhibition stall of KTM 2022 which will also have spacious seminar halls and food courts, he pointed out, saying that seller-buyer appointments have already totalled 47,000. “We expect the total to be around 60,000.”
Rehearsals are going on full-fledged for the inaugural evening which will have an imaginative cultural programme, Shri Mathew added.
The 2000-constituted KTM Society, which is the country’s biggest organization in the travel and tourism segment, has been working towards reviving the industry since the spread of the novel coronavirus in the state two years ago.
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