Kerala Tourism awarded 6 National Tourism Awards
New Delhi, September 27th: Shri Kadakampally Surendran, Minister for Tourism, Government of Kerala received six National Tourism Awards 2015-16 from The President Shri Ram Nath Kovind, Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi today. The Department of Tourism, Government of Kerala has been lauded with Hall of fame award for the ‘Most Innovative Use of Information Technology - Social Media / Mobile App’ for the ninth consecutive year. Out of these six awards, Kerala Tourism bagged two awards in the marketing category, including‘Best Tourism Promotion Publicity Material’ for a film tourism brochure- ‘Your Next Blockbuster Destination’ and ‘Excellence in Publishing in Foreign language other than English’ for a Spanish Brochure titled “Reanimar – Enel Propio Pais de Dios”, conceived and developed by Stark Communications. The film tourism brochure highlights the picturesque beaches, exotic wildlife, hill stations and unexplored backwaters that are amongst just a few of the prime locations that can be used to shoot any form of media. The Spanish brochure encapsulates the key attractions of the state, highlighting why Kerala is considered to be the most sought-after destination across the world.
The state tourism also bagged an awardfor the Best Responsible TourismInitiative for ‘Kumarakom’. The spirit of Kerala’s Responsible Tourismis based on the availability of plenty of natural resources, skilled manpower,supportive entrepreneurial community, strong local-self-governments,civil-society organizations, multitude of micro enterprises, streams of professionalsand academicians, responsible media and responsive tourism industry. Allof these initiatives provide the state an ideal setting to implement andpractice it.
Speakingabout the significance of the responsible tourism initiative, Mr. Kadakampally Surendran, Honorable Ministerfor Tourism, Government of Kerala stated, “It give us immense pleasure to be lauded with the prestigiousNational Tourism Awards in six different categories. Kerala Tourism has beenfocused on promoting the concept of ‘Responsible Tourism’ for protectingenvironment and conserving cultural heritage. And, receiving award for thissignificant initiative of the state emboldens the tourism department to keep upthe positive momentum.”
Moreover, the state was lauded with 3National Awards in private sector. Lotus Destinations Pvt. Ltd., Cochin baggedaward for Best Tour OperatorPromoting Niche segments other than MICE and adventure and Vivantaby Taj, Kumarakom received award for Best hotel – 4 star category and Somatheeram Research Institute & Ayurveda Hospital Pvt.Ltd bagged award forBest WellnessCentre. Kerala Tourism has some robust infrastructural development plansto promote ‘Responsible Tourism’ and the state’s tourism department is workingthoroughly on formulating and executing development plans for the overallgrowth of the state.
With the aim to promote river-cruisetourism, the Government of Kerala has envisioned Rs 300-crore project for ninerivers in Kannur and Kasaragod. In addition, the State government is planningto develop quite a few adventure parks for adventure enthusiasts. For which, thegovernment allocated Rs. 45 crore for Prasadam project and Rs. 20 crore forGreen Carpet scheme for Alappuzha, Enranjil, Neyyar and Thenmala.
The category for other awardsinclude Best State for‘Comprehensive Development of Tourism’ and Best Civic Management of a TouristDestination Category ‘C’ for ‘Sarovaram Bio Park’. Sarovaram Biopark isthe only eco-friendly biopark in Kerala promoting the conservation of mangroveforests and wetlands. The biopark is located right at the heart of thecity. The canal walkway, boating facilities, Otter Park, Butterfly Park,bird sanctuary, aquarium, floating rafts, board-walk, park/ musical fountain,open air theatre are popular attractions here.
Interestingly, for the ninthconsecutive year, Kerala Tourism has been awarded with Hall of fame award for the ‘Most InnovativeUse of Information Technology - Social Media / Mobile App’. Being thefirst tourism board to run an official website, Kerala Tourism has always beenin the forefront to utilize the technology in the tourism sector. Moreover,Kerala Tourism has initiated various innovative social media campaigns such asKerala Blog Express, Visit Kerala and Go Kerala bidwars app.
Dr. Venu V,IAS, Principal Secretary, Department of tourism, Government of Kerala said“Receiving such prominent awards for theinnovative marketing strategies and the usage of technology in tourism haveenhanced the profile of the state as a sought-after destination across theworld. Over the years, the persistent recognitions for Kerala in the nationalforum have positioned the state as a preferred tourist destination for domesticas well as international tourists.”
“We atKerala Tourism are committed towards promoting tourism in a responsible mannerand all our initiatives are directed towards overall economic development ofthe respective destination through income generation, investment, job creation,etc.” Dr. Venu addedfurther.
Kerala Tourism spends around 30% ofits budget on branding and marketing. The share of digital media has gone up inthe state’s advertising and marketing budget. It accounts for 20 percent of thetotal in its latest campaign. The state tourism contemplated on the need ofimproving its social media presence as it becomes easier for the tourism boardto create buzz for promoting new destinations.
In June, Kerala Tourism launched adigital campaign #Kerala #IndiaForBeginners with an aim to promote Kerala asthe best destination for the tourist’s visiting India for the first time. Withthe onset of this campaign, Kerala Tourism is targeting 50% growth in domesticas well as international tourist’s arrival by 2021. #IndiaForBeginners campaignhas reached over 1,250,954 numbers of people with 6,283,431 impressions.Through the vast reach of social media, the tourism board has reached out to awider audience, which gave extremely positive response.
The state has been witnessingconsistent growth in Foreign Tourist arrivals since 2011. Kerala has hosted10,38,419 foreign tourists during 2016, with an increase of 6.23 percent.
Speakingabout the initiatives,Mr. P Bala Kiran, Director, Department of Tourism, Government of Kerala said, “With the aim to accelerate the growth ofstate tourism, Kerala Tourism has been formulating and executing variousinitiatives, which have resulted in elevating the state amongst the topdestinations in India. These awards are a testimony of the innovative marketinginitiatives and promotional activities undertaken by the tourism department ofKerala across the globe.”
Kerala Tourism is currently in theprocess of re-branding itself and following a robust tourism development planto develop tourist spots across the state as adventure tourism destinations.The objective is to invite vacationers to explore adventure activities liketrekking, wildlife safari, mountain climbing, river rafting, paragliding etc.To promote green tourism, the state government plans to develop 10 eco-tourismcircuits to connect various forests.
As per the Kerala Tourism surveyreport of 2016, sixty-five per cent of the population is below 35 years of ageand Henceforth, Kerala Tourism aims to position the state as the land ofadventure, with a lot of emphasis on water sports. All along its coast lines,it plans to develop water parks and promote water based activities.
The 1981-founded Kerala Tourism, whichis headquartered in the state capital Thiruvananthapuram, is a
Government organization thatundertakes policy formulation, implementation of projects and marketing of“God’s Own Country” as a tourist destination.