The 11 th edition of the four-day-long Kerala Travel Mart (KTM) that concluded on Sunday will be a springboard to regain confidence of visitors to Kerala after the pandemic-induced lull, Chief Secretary V.P. Joy said at the mart’s valedictory session here on Sunday evening.
The government will offer KTM Society and the entire tourism fraternity all support to revitalise the travel industry in the State. “Tourism played its role in Kerala figuring [high] in the list of the United Nations’ Human Development Index during the past three years. The State, which is blessed with natural beauty and warm people, must strengthen its tourism infrastructure,” he said.
Three-hundred of the total 1,500 buyers who participated in the Business-to-Business (B2B) mart which had 325 stalls, were from 69 countries.
KTM Society president Baby Mathew said the mart would be followed by travel packages for 300 delegates to the State’s northern, central and southern regions. “In addition, a chartered flight has been arranged to Kannur this Tuesday. The delegates will have a week’s local tour to know more about Malabar, which is the new focus area of tourism,” he said. The function also saw a farewell to K.S. Shine who was the chief executive officer of KTM Society.
Endowed with a mesmerising scenic beauty, Kerala must ramp up parallel tourism attractions to provide visitors with unique experiences in the post-COVID era, experts said at a seminar on ‘Kerala: Attractions Beyond Nature’, held on Sunday as part of the travel mart. They listed a string of emerging trends that could rejuvenate Kerala tourism with endemic products, including Ayurveda, which could be leveraged in global markets.
Dr. D.K.M. Ikbal from Vaidyaratnam Ayurveda College, Thrissur, said Kerala had set international standards in Ayurveda treatment, ensuring authenticity to the theory and practice of the wellness system. “Ayurveda mentions six seasons, and each of them is essentially experiential. Kerala has all of them,” he said.
Irina Gurieva, managing director of Top Tours in Ukraine, said Ayurveda continued to have “immense marketing possibilities” in Europe. With 22 years of relationship with Kerala and its Ayurveda, Ms. Gurieva said her tryst with the State began even before the Europeans realised the potentials of wellness science and its tradition.
Diligent care can make heritage a good tourism product, said B. Venugopal, former Director of National Museum of Natural History, New Delhi. “Muziris heritage is one of the pivotal tourism projects in India. Most European countries had cultural and commercial trade with Muziris, which had a port that had been functional for 14 centuries since 1st BC. Developing heritage centres around the place will bring in tourists from countries in Europe and the Middle East with whom Kerala has had strong trade links,” he added.