MONTHS AFTER Kerala was ravaged by floods, the state’s department of tourism has intensified its promotional campaign to bring back domestic as well as international tourists. For 2019, the state has chosen Punjab to begin with and on Tuesday, a ‘Partnership Meet’ was held in Ludhiana which also saw artists from Kerala present a cultural show through visual storytelling.
Ramesh T P, information officer, department of tourism, Kerala, said ‘Partnership Meets’ were being organised to connect with domestic tourists within the country.
“After the worst-ever floods that Kerala ever saw, connectivity was poorly hit. Most of the roads were damaged. Now it has all been rebuilt and state is standing on its own feet again. We want to convey to tourists that they can come to Kerala and won’t face any hassles. Tourism is a major source of income for our state and we need the help and support of people from other states in bringing our tourism economy back on track. People still have doubts over coming to Kerala for holidays, which we are aiming to dispel,” he said.
He added that these ‘Partnership Summits’ were being held in PPP mode (Public-private partnership) to attract tourists. “The state’s fourth airport at Kannur in Kerala was opened recently and now more tourist destinations are accessible, such as Valiyaparamba Backwaters, Kuppam and Ranipuram. After Punjab, we are taking this summit to Chandigarh, Delhi, Jaipur, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Visakhapatnam, Chennai and it will conclude on February 28 in Madurai,” he said. He added that Ludhiana in Punjab and UT Chandigarh have been chosen as first destinations in view of the “potential domestic market.”
“We are expecting more tourists from Punjab and it is among domestic markets with the most potential,” he said. “We held such campaigns earlier too but now the drive has been intensified,” he said.
On budgetary provisions made by the Kerala government for promoting tourism, information officer Ramesh TP said that a budget of Rs 82 crore was set aside for promotion and publicity for 2018-19 which is being spent for these summits.
“We had budget of Rs 82 crore for promotion in 2018-19. We need more than this for 2019-20 to cover up for loss due to floods. It has been communicated to government. It is due to joint efforts of government and people of Kerala that within a month after floods, we were able to restore road connectivity and rebuild some hotels that were affected. Floods did not affect tourist destinations much but main problem was connectivity,” he said.
The summit at Ludhiana Tuesday saw artistes from Kerala presenting a cultural programme through visual storytelling and showcasing Kerala’s art forms, village life and folklore.