A meaningful engagement among different States is crucial for sustainable and inclusive development of tourism, Governor Arif Mohammad Khan said here on Thursday.
The post-COVID recovery efforts provide the apt time for States to further strengthen cooperation and coordination in tourism for common good, he said while inaugurating the eleventh edition of the Kerala Travel Mart (KTM), the country’s biggest tourism Business-to-Business (B2B) event.
Noting that prolonged restrictions on international flights owing to the pandemic had nourished Kerala with domestic tourism, the Governor said tourism, apart from being an economic activity, was a cultural experience that transcended borders. “Being conscious of the need for a robust partnership in reviving tourism, Kerala has ensured healthy government-industry collaboration in tourism, setting a win-win situation. The State is eminently qualified to become the premium experiential tourism hub of India,” he said.
Approximately 55,000 business meets are expected to be held from May 6 to 8, when the mart will be held at Sagara and Samudrika convention centres in Willingdon Island. Members of the public will get access to the pavilions at the two venues for five hours from 1 p.m. on May 8.
Mr. Khan hailed the government for coming out with a set of new products and projects to meet the demands of post-COVID tourism, including farm tourism, caravans, and adventure packages. Kerala’s noticeably rural character ensures that every little village has a pleasant surprise for guests. He also lauded initiatives to promote tourism in lesser-tapped north Kerala like Malabar River Cruise project, Beypore Water Fest, and Responsible Tourism ventures. Kerala also ensured that Ayurveda-reliant institutions were run professionally, thus maintaining the reputation as a wellness destination, he added.
The day also saw Kerala Tourism presenting a curtain-raiser of the second edition of its IPL-modelled Champions Boat League snake-boat race.
Entrepreneur M.A. Yusuf Ali, who was the guest of honour, called for more investments in infrastructure development and capacity building, in the context of increasing demand created by new trends in post-pandemic tourism.
In his address, Venu V., Additional Chief Secretary, said KTM-2022 demonstrated the resilience of the people of Kerala, ending two years of slump in the sector. Principal Secretary (Tourism) K.S. Srinivas spoke of how the mart gifted the State a “great opportunity” to strengthen tourism that was in the doldrums due to the pandemic.
Director of Kerala Tourism V.R. Krishna Teja made a presentation on the latest trends and products of the State.
KTM Society president Baby Mathew said the meet would have around 1,500 buyers, 300 of them international.