Union Minister of State for Culture, Tourism (Independent Charge) and Civil Aviation, Mahesh Sharma, launched Visit Kerala 2015-16, a high voltage all-year tourism campaign that promises to present travellers to ‘God’s Own Country’ a lifetime experience of the state’s natural beauty, cultural splendour, culinary traditions and famed hospitality.
“Kerala needs to be promoted across the world,” said Sharma, who promised central assistance to the state to raise the profile of the state as a top tourist destination in the world.
Describing ‘cleanliness, security and hospitality’ as the three major ingredients of a successful tourism model, Sharma said the country needs to propagate its culture and heritage around the world through tourism. The minister, in his inaugural address, made a strong case for women empowerment through their participation in the growth of tourism, saying a major share of women personnel in the tourism industry has to be ensured in the future.
Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, who addressed the launch ceremony of Visit Kerala through a video message, said visitors to Kerala during 2015-16 would find the state’s destinations more attractive and full of surprises. State Tourism Minister A P Anilkumar said, “Starting this Vishu (Kerala New Year), on April 15, up to the next Vishu in 2016, every visitor to Kerala will experience Kerala like never before. Every visitor will take home memories that will last a lifetime.” “The Visit Kerala campaign is also fuelled by the synergy between the private and public sectors in the tourism industry,” he added.
Union Tourism Secretary, Lalit K Panwar, the Guest of Honour, said creativity and imagination by the state tourism department have sustained the visitor’s interest in Kerala over the years. Kerala Tourism Secretary G Kamala Vardhana Rao, who made a theme presentation on the new campaign initiative, said the major focus of the campaign would be to strengthen the promotion of tourism products that are unique to the state, such as Ayurveda, Spice Route Heritage and Kochi-Muziris Biennale.
“The central theme of tourism in Kerala is ‘Responsible Tourism’,” Rao said, adding the Visit Kerala 2015 campaign would include an array of innovative programmes, ranging from Ayurveda to adventure trips, from destination weddings to heritage tourism and food festivals to quiz competitions.
A Kathakali presentation was showcased on the occasion.
As part of the campaign to showcase the state’s alluring destinations and products that justify its moniker as God’s Own Country’, Kerala Tourism will foray into new markets in China and Sri Lanka through trade fairs, road shows and familiarisation tours.
Visit Kerala 2015 will also promote Kerala Tourism products like cultural festivals, weddings, Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE).
It will also showcase the Spice Route and Muziris heritage through an international campaign to promote heritage tourism in the state.