KERALA RISES TO PROMOTE MALABAR TOURISM

Taking an unprecedented calamity in its stride, Kerala is all set to promote its tourism wares with added vigour at the KTM 2018

 

Kochi: The worst floods in a century have caused unprecedented misery in Kerala but the State has displayed remarkable resilience in battling the natural calamity and dealing with its aftermath. Global media was abound with stories of valour and camaraderie. Now, God’s Own Country is set to add yet another glittering chapter to this historic fight back. This time, it is the turn of Kerala’s tourism fraternity.

Despite the floods that threatened to put the event on hold, Kerala Travel Mart 2018 is to be held as previously planned.

‘’KTM 2018, which is only a few days away, will go on as scheduled and the preparations are going on in full steam. The participation of the Sellers and the Buyers is expected to exceed that of all the previous marts. Though questions have been raised about the impact of the floods in Kerala, we can assure you that measures are being taken for restoring the destinations and bringing back normalcy. All hotels and resorts, especially the few that have been affected, are ready to receive guests. There is no need for apprehension on account of the floods which Kerala faced and we are there to welcome you to KTM 2018,” thus goes the latest email from Baby Mathew, President, Kerala Travel Mart (KTM), brushing aside all concerns regarding the conduct of the 10th edition of KTM.

A meeting of the Kerala Tourism Advisory Committee, which was convened soon after the disaster, also decided to go ahead with KTM. “Of course, there would be concern among tourists whether destinations are safe or not. It is important that we allay that fear at the earliest. We believe KTM would be the ideal platform for Kerala Tourism to rebuild that trust and regain its glory. The tourism industry would work closely with the State Government to make sure that road connectivity to all destinations is restored at the earliest,” said E M Najeeb, Chairman, Confederation of Kerala Tourism Industry, who is also the former president of KTM Society.

‘DESTINATION MALABAR’

The State’s premier tourism show conducted every two years, will be held in Kochi from September 27 to 30. Pinarayi Vijayan, State Chief Minister, will inaugurate KTM 2018 on September 27 at Grand Hyatt Kochi, Bolgatty, on the occasion of the World Tourism Day. The event, to be held at Samudrika and Sagara Convention Centre at Willingdon Island till September 30, will focus on ‘Malabar Tourism’ this year and therefore carry the theme tag ‘Destination Malabar’.

“With the inauguration of Kannur airport this year, the influx of tourists to Malabar region will increase. The implementation of the Malabar River Cruise project, involving nine rivers, has already begun. The government has sanctioned Rs. 53.5 crore for the first phase of the project,” said Kadakampally Surendran, State Tourism Minister, announcing the event.

“As of now, 350 international and 890 domestic buyers have registered for the mega event and the majority of them are from the USA, Russia and its neighbouring countries,” he said. The ninth edition of KTM was attended by a total of 638 domestic buyers from various parts of India and 238 international buyers from more than 57 countries.
According to Baby Mathew, around 400 stalls will be set up as part of the exhibition to be held on the sidelines of KTM, featuring an array of products, packages and services offered by businesses and entrepreneurs. Promoting public-private partnership (PPP) as one of its avowed objectives, KTM offers a platform for stakeholders, including tour operators, hotels, resorts, home stays, houseboats, Ayurveda resorts and cultural art centres to have fruitful meetings and interactions with buyers from around the world.

“This edition will also focus on the implementation of the Tourism Charter which aims at making Kerala a sustainable destination. KTM will showcase new Kerala products for the world and sellers can take part in hundreds of productive business meets. This will be an ideal platform to bring various buyers under one roof,” Baby Mathew said. The Society had adopted a comprehensive nine-point charter titled ‘Agenda 9’ during KTM 2016, which calls for measures to tackle waste management, promote organic farming, achieve efficient use of energy and extensive use of local produce and products. The other key measures in the charter include rainwater harvesting, reduction in the use of plastics and promotion of greenery.

P Bala Kiran IAS, Director, Kerala Tourism said KTM is India’s pride and it can be placed in the same league as of other international tourism fairs like ITB Berlin and FITUR. “KTM is not only a venue for interaction between national and international buyers, but also a platform to spread Kerala’s geographical space, expand tourism products bouquet and promote the State as a 365-day tourism destination,” he added.

“The most striking feature of the KTM is that the event is the result of a collaboration between the State Government and tourism trade. Tourism industry people, including hoteliers and tour operators and Kerala Tourism join hands for this big event. Kerala Tourism wants more investors to come to Malabar region,” says Rani George IAS, Secretary, Tourism Department.

Upping the glamour quotient of the event, Eurasia Beauty Queen Yana Filippova has accepted the invitation of KTM to become the Goodwill Ambassador of Russia this year. This is a follow-up of the decision of the high-level summit between the Indian Prime Minister and the President of the Russian Federation last year at which it was decided to celebrate 2018 as the ‘Year of Tourism’ in India and Russia.

“With Yana Filippova as the Goodwill Ambassador, we expect more participation from Russia for the event. In fact, we are hoping for a record number of registrations this year. We can also expect more tourist arrivals from Russia to Kerala in the coming years,” Mathew said.

The KTM Society is a non-profit organisation that includes multiple industry stakeholders working together to promote tourism in Kerala and strengthen the tourism economy.