Kerala tourism looks to Europe

Tourist arrivals up 4.23% despite GST.

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In 2017, Kerala Tourism had trained its sights on West Asia. This year, it will be on Europe. If last year, the budget to lure the Gulf tourists was '7 crore, this time it will be Rs 7.5 crore. To entice European travelers, Kerala Tourism has planned to showcase diversified products across the European terrain. The stress will be more on Germany and France, and the Nordic countries, than Kerala’s traditional market of England.

The profile of the European tourist to the state is conventional, as they come mostly from the developed countries of UK, Germany and France, the three countries together make up nearly 40 per cent of the foreign footfalls to the state. Arrivals from the Nordic countries — Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden — are paltry. World Travel and Tourism Council estimates that the largest number of travellers will fan out from the Nordic regions. Tourism minister Kadakampally Surendran has sensed the opportunity.

“Considering that Europe holds the top slot in the list of high-potential markets for overall tourism growth, Kerala Tourism has activated a rigorous promotional campaign involving diverse products that have the capability to attract travellers from the European countries,” he said. The European thrust is part of the state government’s goal of doubling foreign tourist arrivals by 2021. Says tourism secretary Rani George: “This would require a year-on-year growth of 8.45 per cent for domestic tourists and 14.87 per cent for international tourists. The latest tourist arrival statistics have shown very positive signs of attaining this goal. As many as 10.2 lakh domestic tourists were added in eight months between January and September 2017 as compared to the same period of previous year. As a result, the domestic tourist arrivals have achieved more than the target set out by the State Tourism Policy.”

Ms George is gung-ho about foreign tourist arrivals, too. “Despite major changes in the tourism industry, including the enhanced GST rates that have jacked up accommodation costs, the foreign tourist arrivals have also increased by 4.23 per cent during the same time period,” she said. As part of the Europe 2018 campaign, Kerala Tourism will leverage all forms of promotional tools under various categories, including television campaigns (Rs 3.5 crore), Out of Home (OOH) campaign (Rs 2.5 crore), Consumer Travel Mart (Rs 1 crore) and Kerala Blog Express (Rs 50 Lakhs). And on show in European destinations will be the state’s virgin spots, not its standard issues beaches and backwaters. “We will focus on introducing to Europe the unexplored and pristine destinations of North Kerala such as Bekal, Kannur, Malabar, and Wayanad,” said Mr. P. Bala Kiran, the tourism director.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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