Kerala will be a wholesome experience for visitors looking for diverse experiences, Kerala Tourism Minister Mohamed Riyas
State revamps its tourism strategy to woo travellers with new projects and events
As part of its product and destination diversification plan, Kerala Tourism is rolling out a slew of projects and events aimed at positioning the state as an all-season destination. Targeting new-age travellers, promoting rural hinterland, lesser-known places and introducing new destinations, conceptualising innovative tourism circuits, investing in infrastructure development, broadening it’s award-winning Responsible Tourism initiative and ensuring better connectivity are the new focus areas of the state’s rejigged tourism initiatives.
This was announced at the Kerala Tourism Partnership Meet 2022-23 organised in the national capital yesterday. The event was attended by hundreds of buyers from Delhi and the National Capital Region who came to shop for Kerala’s diverse tourism products and offerings. More than 50 plus suppliers flew from the state in order to showcase their products and woo trade buyers from Delhi and NCR.
With an aim to raise its destination profile, Kerala tourism will also lay emphasis on activity-driven and experiential tourism that would take visitors to the interiors of the state and explore its unknown or little-known spots, making it an inter-connected tourism hotspot. Kerala set an all-time record in domestic tourist footfalls last year. The state hosted 1.33 crore tourists in the first three quarters of the year, registering a growth of 1.94 per cent from the pre-pandemic year.
Kerala Tourism Minister Mohamed Riyas says the focus will no longer be confined to beaches, backwaters and hill stations. “We now want to transform the whole of Kerala into an interconnected tourist haven where visitors get plenty of choices and diverse experiences. All this will make a trip to Kerala a wholesome experience for visitors looking for diverse experiences, be it a stay in a houseboat or caravan, ecologically responsible adventure activities, or visits to heritage and cultural centres.”
As part of a concerted strategy to promote Kerala as a global wedding destination and a paradise for honeymooners, the state government has announced a project to mount digital and airport-based marketing campaigns, highlighting its huge potential in this promising segment.
Kerala will also leverage its globally acclaimed Responsible Tourism (RT) Mission, which allows visitors to experience village life while supporting the communities that host them. The Mission has now become the first government-owned society in the state to provide training, marketing, and other support systems to local communities to start various initiatives in the tourism sector. Registering the RT Mission as a society will help it from getting funds from local governments and other agencies.
Among the other tourism activities that would be promoted to make deep inroads in domestic and international markets will be the ongoing December 2022-April 2023 Kochi-Muziris Biennale (KBM). Kerala Tourism will also display the trendsetting caravan tourism (Keravan Kerala) and the award-winning STREET, which is an acronym for Sustainable, Tangible, Responsible, Experiential, Ethnic Tourism hubs that take tourism deep into the state’s interiors and rural hinterlands.
Kerala recently launched the Destination Challenge initiative to identify and develop a large number of places with tourism potential across the length and breadth of the state. Tourism Department will be taking on board local self-government institutions like panchayats as key partners in this scheme, which is based on the concept of ‘explore the unexplored’ and creating micro-destinations in every corner of the state, down to the panchayat level. This would mean at least one destination in each panchayat.
Alongside, Kerala’s houseboats, caravan stays, jungle lodges, plantation visits, homestays, Ayurveda-based wellness solutions, countryside walks and adventure activities, including trekking to verdant hills, will provide a unique experience to visitors. Adventure, Wellness, MICE and Responsible Tourism, will also be taken forward with a greater sense of purpose and vigour.
Kerala Tourism will also launch a string of travel trade networking activities, including participation in trade fairs and organising B2B roadshows in January-February in prominent Indian cities. Besides, plans have been chalked out to organise roadshows in Chandigarh, Jaipur and Lucknow in January. Another series of B2B trade meets will be organised in Ahmedabad, Chennai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru in February.