Sending out a strong message to the world that its famed tourism sector is on the path of a swift and robust recovery from the prolonged pandemic-triggered lull, Kerala made an impressive presence at the three-day World Travel Market (WTM) 2021 in London and bagging a morale-boosting award for a Responsible Tourism (RT) project.
Incidentally, the November 1-3 WTM, considered as the most iconic tourism event, was the first trade fair attended by Kerala Tourism after the COVID-19 pandemic had brought the global tourism and hospitality industry to a grinding halt for nearly two years.
The internationally acclaimed ‘Human by Nature’ promotional campaign by Kerala Tourism was the theme of the state’s pavilion. The campaign offers a spectacular and refreshing perspective of the state where human and nature fuse together in an enchanting spectacle.
Particularly satisfying for Kerala was the WTM’s ‘Indian Responsible Tourism One To Watch’ award for the Aymanam Model Responsible Tourism Village Project, bringing into the global focus the riverine location near Kottayam in the state. Lakesong Backwater Resort in Kumarakom received the Silver Award in the ‘Decarbonising the Travel and Tourism’ segment, for its notable initiatives in sustainability and environment protection.
Tourism Minister P A Mohamed Riyas said Kerala’s participation in WTM 2021 attracted leading stakeholders from the travel trade of the United Kingdom, which is a key source market for the state.
“The response at the event was quite encouraging. Several buyers were interested to know about the COVID situation in Kerala. To an extent, we would be able to instil confidence among the UK buyers with this participation. We are especially pleased with the award for our Responsible Tourism project as we have scrupulously followed the sustainable development model for the tourism sector,” he added.
Dr. Venu V., Additional Chief Secretary (Tourism), said, “We are making vigorous efforts to ramp up our tourism sector in double-quick time by launching an array of innovative projects that would readily strike a chord with the visitors from both India and outside. The WTM is a huge platform to showcase tourism products. We believe Kerala’s participation will go a long way in reviving the state’s tourism industry.”
Tourism Director Krishna Teja, who led the delegation, said, “The event served as an opportunity to display Kerala as a top tourism destination of the world. Tourism remains one of the most important sectors for Kerala and we are keen to develop the potential of the state further across foreign tourists through events like this.”
The delegation comprised seven trade partners: Somatheeram Ayurveda Group, tour operators Dravidian Trails Holidays, Pioneer Personalised Holidays, Spiceland Holidays, and The Blue Yonder, and hoteliers Eastend Resorts & Hotels and CGH Earth Experience Hotels.
Besides the meetings with travel trade, media interviews with leading news channels like CNN, EURO news, and Sky news were also held.
Prof. Harold Goodwin, (Director of the Responsible Tourism Partnership and WTM Responsible Tourism Advisor) launched the ‘Human By Nature’ theme book at the stand. The book explores the Kerala way of life with articles, pictures and travellers’ impressions of the state.
The UK, the biggest source market for Kerala Tourism over the years, was the first country to record two lakh footfalls of foreign tourists to God’s Own Country in 2018, accounting for 18.36 per cent share of the foreign tourist arrivals to the state in that year.