Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Tourism has embarked on an aggressive drive to tap the Chinese market, the biggest in the world, to boost foreign tourist arrivals in the state. Leading Chinese outbound tour operators have shown strong interest in Kerala at the Beijing International Tourism Expo (BITE) 2015 which concluded yesterday in the Chinese capital. The sprawling Kerala Tourism pavilion themed on backwaters and 'Kalaripayattu' was a huge draw among the visitors to BITE, the leading Asian travel and tourism fair.
"We are encouraged by the tremendous response from the Chinese tourism industry," said Kerala Tourism Minister A P Anil kumar.
"Considering that it was the first-ever participation of Kerala Tourism in BITE, it gives us a lot of confidence for the future," a press release quoting him said.
Among the initial visitors to the Kerala Tourism pavilion were Beijing Vice Mayor Chang Hong and Mr Wang Xiaofeng, the Vice Chairman of China's top tourism authority, the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA).
Both Chang and Wang jointly inaugurated the Kerala Pavilion in the presence of Kerala Chief Secretary, Jiji Thomson, India's Ambassador to China, Ashok K Kantha and Kerala Tourism Secretary, G Kamala Vardhana Rao.
The first day of Kerala Tourism at BITE saw a flurry of trade meetings between state government officials and senior leaders of the Chinese tourism industry. Kerala Tourism's trade partners participated in BITE 2015 and also held meetings with their Chinese counterparts aimed at establishing a firm collaborative partnership with each other. Along with its trade partners from the state, Kerala Tourism is organising a road show in Shanghai on June 30.
"After our impressive successes in capturing the European market, it is only a logical step for us to enter the huge market in China in our backyard," said Anilkumar, referring to the foray by Kerala Tourism into China.
"We are confident that by tapping into the vast Chinese market, we will be able to substantially increase foreign tourist arrivals in our state," the Minister added....