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Alphons Kannanthanam, 64, MoS (Ind.), Tourism: For tapping tourism potential, keyword is ‘civilisational heritage’

Kannanthamam has his job cut out with the latest mid-year Economic Survey noting that India has a lot of tourism potential that is yet to be tapped.

Written by Ananthakrishnan G | New Delhi | Published: September 4, 2017 2:02 am
“We are a 5,000-year-old civilisation. We are much more than incredible. Our heritage is our USP and we have to devise ways to market it,” Kannanthanam, 64, told The Indian Express.

Former bureaucrat Alphons Kannanthanam, the new Minister of State (independent charge) for Tourism, is confident that he will be able to capitalise on India’s “civilisational heritage”. “India has immense potential. We are a 5,000-year-old civilisation. We are much more than incredible. Our heritage is our USP and we have to devise ways to market it,” Kannanthanam, 64, told The Indian Express. A 1979-batch Kerala cadre IAS officer, he feels his home state “needs nothing more than tourism” provided it can generate jobs and maintain quality.

Kannanthamam has his job cut out with the latest mid-year Economic Survey noting that India has a lot of tourism potential that is yet to be tapped. As per industry estimates, the size of the Indian tourism and hospitality sector was $117.7 billion in 2014 and is expected to touch $418.9 billion by 2022. The cabinet berth came as a surprise. “I was on my way to Kozhikode and was at the Bangalore airport when I received a call from the Prime Minister’s Office asking me to come to New Delhi,” he said.

He had an eventful career as a bureaucrat, earning a reputation as a “demolition man” in Delhi and being credited with helping Kottayam attain 100% literacy. In 2006, he quit the civil services and won the Christian-dominated Kanjirappally assembly seat in Kerala as a Left-backed independent. He joined the BJP some years later and was inducted in the party national executive.

While his elevation is seen as part of a larger gameplan to make inroads into Kerala, it also involves the risk of costing the BJP its Hindu votes. Asked if the party will gain in Kerala after his induction, he said, “The prospects are very good. I enjoy good rapport with all sections of society across the board.” BJP Kerala president Kummanam Rajasekharan described the elevation as the Narendra Modi government’s Onam gift to Malayalees.

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  1. R
    Raman
    Sep 5, 2017 at 6:09 pm
    Give special isreal tourism package and start isreal tourism hub in kerala and in all states and give attractive isreal tourism package in india
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    1. C
      Curious onlooker
      Sep 5, 2017 at 8:32 pm
      What is wrong with the Christian community being given a chance to go on a religious journey to their faith founder's birth place? Hindus from various parts of India and around the world do flock to Sabari mountain in Kerala every year to keep alive their faith ?
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    2. C
      Curious onlooker
      Sep 4, 2017 at 7:54 am
      Alphons Kannanthanam is a small spoke in the wheel of Modi's Cabinet Ministry and is more likely to be used as the key man to make BJP's odious presence felt in Kerala. Mr Kannanthanam ought to know the State is a solid fortress against BJP and if its walls are breached even to the slightest he will be thoroughly hated and ostracized by his very kith and kin. Better that he resign the lowly and inferior position conferred on him in Modi's Ministry and get back to work among his own people to improve their lot.
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