Kochi: The tourism sector in the state is expected to register 50 per cent growth in the coming year following the removal of restrictions on bar hotels in the new liquor policy announced by the state government, said Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran. Speaking to reporters on Friday after inaugurating the two-day International Conference on Tourism Technology (ICTT) the minister, however, said the setback suffered by MICE sector (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) may take more time to recover.
“Though, the availability of liquor is not the sole reason for choosing a venue for an event, it is part of urban lifestyle. The earlier policy had adversely affected the MICE tourism sector. Now, the new policy will help it,” he said. Addressing the ICTT, Kadakampally said the state is aiming to double the domestic tourist arrivals and 50 per cent increase in foreign tourist arrivals in the next five years. “Digital platforms are the key to achieve the aim,” he said. Kerala Tourism has been exploring the new media as a key platform after witnessing the tremendous reach enjoyed by them”.
The tourism department also launched facebook and twitter campaigns during the inaugural ceremony. Dr. Venu V., principal secretary, Tourism, launched the twitter campaign #Kerala #IndiaForBeginners while tourism director P. Bala Kiran launched the Facebook campaign. “Kerala Tourism has always been in the forefront as we were the first tourist destination to start a website. Later, we spread our presence to other social media platforms. We need to redesign and reengineer to cater to the demands of guests,” Dr Venu said. Speaking on the occasion Hibi Eden, MLA, said international tourists are keen to experience the authenticity and local feel of a place. “The initiative of ‘Responsible Tourism’ is a much appreciated effort as it gives them the local flavor. Such initiatives can be easily spread out to the world through social media,” he said.