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It’s time for Kerala

October 8, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email

The leading tourist state of India, God’s own country, has re-emerged within few weeks of facing nature’s wrath in the form of flood and deluge.

K J Alphons, Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology, Culture and Tourism, Government of India, said: “I am extremely happy to announce that Kerala is ready to receive tourists. In mid-August, Kerala was completely ravaged by the floods. 13 of 14 districts were submerged under water and the economy was completely destroyed. But Kerala has seen a resurrection like never before in history. Tourism is back completely, every district is functioning normally and every resort is open.” The minister was addressing the inaugural of Kerala Travel Mart 2018 at Grand Hyatt Kochi Hotel and Lulu Convention Centre where 3000 plus delegates attended the most sought after travel mart in India. 1635 national and international buyers attended the biennial mart this time.

People from all religions helped one another and showed an incredible sense of brotherhood during the time of need. Shailendran M, Vice President- Sales at CGH earth experience hotels said: “People’s co-operation was crucial during the disaster of such magnitude. Many unknown heroes emerged during the flood rescue mission. Our hotel kitchen was open 24×7 to cook and supply food packs to navy teams that reached out to people struck un floods.” Very few hotels were affected in Kochi but, CGH’s own Coconut Lagoon in Kumarakom stood in 4 feet high water for 10 days. General Manager Shamboo G said: “Our major task was to shift wood furniture to a higher place when most staff had to be sent home to care for their affected homes and families. We waded through the property in boats. We were ready in next 10 days and were happy to welcome 18 member guest group from the UK, who travelled despite advisory to show solidarity and stayed for two weeks. We didn’t want to load our inventory online as suggested by some as we believed in our industry partners who have stood by us.”

Temples, Churches and Mosques were among hundreds of temporary shelter homes for more than a million affected people. Common fishermen, who knew their ways through water, came to people’s rescue.

Rani George, Secretar, Kerala Tourism

Rani George, Secretary-Tourism, Government of Kerala, said: “The worst brought out the best in people. Tourists were among the first to be rescued. Main problem we faced during floods was loss of connectivity to destinations. State’s tourism incurred a loss of ₹5 bn during August. Since the news spread across India and the world, people hesitated to travel to Kerala. The estimated loss thus is ₹15 bn so far. We had discussions with the trade and chalked out a 12 point action plan. First task was restoring connectivity to destinations in a time-bound action by Public Works Department. We did a tourism readiness survey and found that all the major destinations in Kerala had become operational after one month of the calamity.”

 

To change perceptions in people’s minds, Kerala Tourism has started a marketing campaign ‘It’s time for Kerala.’

Minister Alphons said: “Being one of the fastest growing tourism economies in the world, India did very well with 14 percent growth in arrivals last year, a double of global growth. Tourists come to India to be transformed. Yoga and Ayurveda are two unique offerings of the 5000 year old civilization of India. Yoga is a belief that the universe is one and happiness is indivisible. Ayurveda believes that chemical pharmacy lies within an individual and can cure self under sustained conditions.”

Popular fish fry

Even in tourism revenue, India grew by 19.2 percent, which is 3 times that of global revenue growth in tourism. India Tourism aims to double arrival figures in 3 years. Kerala, considered a Superbrand, received ₹84 bn (+8.29%) foreign exchange through tourism last year. The state had 1.09 mn (+5.2%) international and 14.67 mn (+11.39%) domestic tourists in 2017.

Kerala did incredibly well last year and received 9 awards during this year’s National Tourism awards. Responsible Tourism Mission of Kerala and Wayanad, one of the worst affected during floods were among the winners.

Kochi airport was closed for 15 days since Aug 14. It’s now operating to its optimum level. Kerala has 3 international airports with flights connecting to cities across the world and the fourth airport at Kannur is expected to be operational in few weeks’ time.

Jatayupara, Kerala’s new attraction

Kadakampally Surendran, Tourism Minister, Government of Kerala, said: “Kerala Tourism Policy has a clear-cut laid down path. We are continuously improving infrastructure and are currently working on making coastal and hill roads into National Highways. New experience this year is Jatayu Earth Centre, the largest bird sculpture sitting on a mountain with a modern 4D Theater and a museum depicting the story of the mythical bird. The attraction built on Public Private Partnership has cable car access and international security in place. 4th edition of Muziris Biennale to be held in December attracts artists from 40 countries and art appreciators from all over the world.”

All airports, roads, hotels and resorts and attractions in Kerala are now open and are ready to welcome tourists. Its spices, seafood and freshly prepared healthy cuisine are waiting for tourists to savor.

Minister Alphons said: “Kerala is most incredible among 29 States of India. We’re ready to support Kerala in time of its resurrection. India Tourism is extending INR 1 bn for Malabar Cruise Tourism.”

Written by Anand & Madhura Katti

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