While Kerala Travel Mart (KTM) is set to open gates on the World Tourism Day (September 27), international recognition for Kerala tourism is rapidly growing as the state bags another coveted and prestigious award from Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) for its innovative marketing campaigns.
At the recently concluded annual PATA Travel Mart (September 7-9), Kerala was bestowed with the PATA Gold Awards for its ‘Visit Kerala’ television commercial and the Kerala Tourism e-newsletter at the luncheon function in Jakarta, Indonesia. UV Jose, the Director of Tourism for Kerala, received the awards from Mario Hardy, PATA CEO and Maria Helena, Director of Macao Tourism Office at the Indonesia Convention Centre on the final day of the mart. While the PATA awards see a tough competition from over 200 entries from 70 organisations worldwide, the recognition will once again turn the spotlight on the diverse tourism products of the state as it gears up to host a major event later this month.
KTM aims higher
Back home, the southern state with some of the most unique tourism prospects is ready to kick-start the ninth edition of KTM, the largest gathering of tourism stakeholders in the state. The Chief Minister of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan will be inaugurating the event at Hotel Le Meridien on September 27, celebrated as the World Tourism Day worldwide. The three-day trade event is scheduled to be held at the Samudrika and Sagara Convention Centre, Willingdon Island, from September 28 to 30, 2016. Representation from 57 foreign countries, including 10 first-time participants remains the highlight for participants keen to assess the potential of the state as a responsible tourism destination.
“We will see the biggest ever delegate contingents from 10 traditional markets – including the US, Canada and Australia – at the KTM this time,” said the Minister of Tourism and Co-operation for Kerala, AC Moideen. “We are confident that KTM 2016 will be a great success in showcasing Kerala to the world, strengthening the brand image of ‘God’s Own Country’ and helping our state’s tourism industry flourish further.”
The new entrants to KTM include China, Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Georgia, Chile, Greece, Iran and Botswana. Domestic buyers from 20 Indian states are also participating in the event which is the country’s biggest travel show focused on a single destination.
The Principal Secretary (Tourism) Dr. Venu V explained how KTM is the most prestigious commercial initiative of Kerala Tourism. “Private-public partnership is the main highlight of KTM. We have support from both the state and central ministry, with the state government setting aside INR 20 million for KTM,” said Shri Venu.
The exhibition at KTM will have 265 stalls featuring a range of products, packages and services offered by businesses and entrepreneurs. It 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.
Tourism supports local communities
While Kerala Tourism spends on destination marketing, it is also keen on remaining the major provider of continued assistance that benefits the local population. The launch of the tourism department’s Green Carpet initiative in the capital earlier this month aims at a multi-agency participatory campaign, which will run until October 31. Community development is given utmost priority by all stakeholders involved.
The initiative looks at ground-level concerns including waste management, infrastructure, safety and sustainability, and clearly marks out what needs to be achieved before November 1, when the tourist season officially gets underway. The state tourism aims at accomplishing goals such as a clean and hygienic environment; installing a scientific and sustainable system for solid waste collection and management; proper and regular maintenance of public toilets; and safer drinking water and food.