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Thursday, 31 January, 2019, 19 : 22 PM [IST]

Kerala to set aside INR 82 cr for tourism marketing in 2019-20 to overcome set backs

Additional 2% tax on Foreign liquor, beer and wine proposed
In order to overcome the setback brand ‘God’s own Country’ suffered over the last few months due to series of incidents, Kerala government will be enhancing the destination marketing spend in a major way in 2019-20. The annual budget presented by Dr Thomas Issac, Finance Minister of the State in the State assembly today proposed an allocation of INR 82 cr for marketing and promotions. The Finance Minister has proposed a total financial outlay of INR 372 cr for the sector in the Budget. 

 “Our campaign is to be strengthened against the backdrop of setbacks caused by the Nipah outbreak, flood and indiscriminate hartals. Out of Rs. 372 crore earmarked for Tourism Sector in 2019-20, Rs. 82 crore is set apart for marketing. Based on a clear framework, additional funds for marketing will be allotted later,” said the Finance Minister. 

Dr Issac also proposed many novel initiatives to revitalise the destinations by linking many coastal towns to the Spice Route and Muziris Heritage Project. Except for the Maritime Museum, the Muziris Project will be completed in 2020-21. A seminar by inviting representatives from foreign countries who are interested to be partners in the Spices Route will be conducted in Kochi during the month of June, the Finance Minister said.

 The Finance Minister also announced various initiatives to convert Alappuzha into a hub of Spice Route network. “The first phase consisting of a dozen heritage museums, canal renovation and restoration, modernisation of factory and port buildings will be completed in 2019-20. It will take one more year for the renovation of roads and bridges, construction of transport hub and completion of remaining museums. T

he Alappuzha canal region will be transformed into a showcasing zone of not only ancient buildings but also indistinct cultural heritage. It is expected that at least half of five lakh travellers visiting Kuttanad back waters could be enticed to Alappuzha. It will help for the rejuvenation of the city and also to create employment on a large scale,” he said presenting the Budget. 

The Snake Boat Race League will be organised in the backwaters and the same will be promoted extensively in overseas markets. ‘Steps will also be taken for obtaining UNESCO Cultural Heritage Status for the boat race in Kerala,’ he said. 

The Budget has proposed an outlay of INR 20 cr towards creating basic infrastructure for Boat Race League. The Budget also proposes a Kerala Tourism Entrepreneurship Fund. Financial assistance from this fund will be provided to those educated entrepreneurs who put forward novel ideas, projects or remedial measures. An amount of INR 4 crore is earmarked to protect private buildings having tourism potential and also to private entrepreneurs for providing basic infrastructure.

 Among the new tax proposals, the Finance Minister based on the approval of Central GST Council has announced 1% Flood Disaster Cess on all goods and services which are in the slab above 5% in the State to support the rebuilding work of the State. The Finance Minister also proposed 2% additional tax on foreign liquor, wine and beer sold in the State from April 1, 2019.
 
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