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March 1-5 KTM Virtual Meet to Bring Kerala’s Tourism back to Vitality

In Travel
February 04, 2021

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:
Kerala is set to revitalize tourism by showcasing the sector’s excellence before the world, as next month’s Kerala Travel Mart (KTM) will facilitate a virtual convergence of domestic and foreign buyers so as to interact with 700 sellers across continents, Tourism Secretary Rani George said.

The March 1-5 KTM will be a major step towards restoring the pace of growth of tourism in a post-Covid scenario. The meet envisages a decisive recovery of the state’s vital tourism sector that has been largely dull for ten months following the pandemic, she said.

The Minister recalled that the 2018 KTM succeeded in allaying massive apprehensions in the future of tourism following the floods that year. “The upcoming KTM, too, will propose a similar model that can inspire confidence in the stakeholders. We will chart out ways that can help the sector lessen the losses owing to Covid-19 and its lingering effects,” said Rani George.

All members of the KTM Society will be attending the five-day meet, which will exhibit the various products of the state’s tourism sector.
Noting that Kerala government’s measures against the pandemic had won the state appreciation across the globe, he said the KTM Society, which is India’s biggest organization in the travel and tourism segment, will work towards realizing the goal of normalizing the industry.

Already, measures to increase the inflow of tourists have started showing success. Several tourist centres in the state saw a surge in travellers in the past three months.

“With no compromise in making the tourists follow the Covid protocol, our tourism department has been working efficiently in tandem with the hotels, resorts and
homestays,” the tourism secretary said. “The message has gone out to other states and countries. It is working to our benefit.”

She recalled that the government has rolled out a Rs 455-crore relief package for both the entrepreneurs and employees/workers in the tourism sector. The state-level bankers’ committee gives loans up to Rs 25 lakh to entrepreneurs in tourism. The government is paying half the interest for the first year.

Further, Kerala Bank gives loans between Rs 20,000 and Rs 30,000 to those employed in the tourism sector. The beneficiaries need to pay only 3 per cent interest, as the government pays the rest 6 per cent as subsidies. The authorities are giving Rs 10,000 each as a one-time relief amount to guides accredited
with the tourism departments of the state and central governments. Grants up to Rs 1.25 lakh are being distributed for the maintenance of houseboats. The commercial tax, which the local administration department was collecting from homestays, has been retained as house tax to the relief to the hospitality industry.