Kerala Tourism targets Europe market at World Travel Market London 2017

Thiruvananthapuram, 9th November 2017: Sharing the sustainable practices and ethical methods to drive the responsible tourism agenda, Kerala Tourism participated in a three day-long World Travel Market London 2017 to highlight success of the state’s “Responsible Tourism Mission” at a global platform.

ShriKadakampally Surendran, Honorable Minister for Co-operation, Tourism andDevaswoms, Government of Kerala led the state’s delegation to the trade event, whichshowcased Kerala’s best-selling products, including its award-winningResponsible Tourism initiatives, pristine beaches, hill stations, backwaters,houseboats and Ayurveda therapies, among an array of offerings. On theoccasion, Honorable Tourism Minister launched an initiative of the KeralaTourism Development Corporation (KTDC) - ‘AyurBodha’, highlighting thesignificance of Ayurvedic practices to attract tourists from across the globe. 

A specialsession on “Kerala’s Responsible Tourism Mission” wasorganized on Monday (Nov 6), moderated by Harold Goodwin, WTMResponsible Tourism Advisor wherein Jose Dominic, CEO, CGHEarth Hotels, Cochin, Kerala, India & Xu Jing, RegionalDirector for Asia and the Pacific, UNWTO were present along with Dr.Venu. 

HonorableTourism Minister inaugurated the Kerala Pavilion followed by the launch of KTMbrochure 2018. The pavilion was themed around Backwaters and Houseboats. Thebackwaters were brought to life through a two-minute film that was shot using a360-degree technology via six cameras simultaneously. Visitors were invited todon a VR headset and get virtually transported 2,000 km away to a boat floatingon the tranquil waters, listening in to conversations of locals going abouttheir daily lives and watching the picturesque coconut palms, rolling paddyfields, birds, the sunset and other vistas from an actual cruise passing by. 

Theoverwhelming response received by Kerala Tourism pavilion was a testimony andreflection of Kerala’s stature on the world tourism map. Tourism remains one ofthe most important sectors for Kerala. The state has been keen to develop thepotential of the state further by catering to foreign tourists through suchprestigious events. 

The WTM’slocation added to its importance as the UK is the primary source market forKerala Tourism. Kerala received 1,55,548 tourists from the UK last year,accounting for 17 per cent of the total foreign tourist arrivals to the state.Kerala Tourism has been conducting road shows in Britain and has beenparticipating in the World trade Mart (WTM) for the last two decades. 

Sharingviews on the sustainable development approach, Shri KadakampallySurendran, Honorable Minister for Co-operation, Tourism and Devaswoms,Government of Kerala said, “Owing to the tremendous growth ofIndian tourism industry, there is an immediate need to invest and focus onsustainable tourism practices across the world to conserve India’s vibrantheritage. Kerala Tourism has always been on a forefront to promote tourism in aresponsible manner.” 

“Recently,Kerala Tourism initiated a first of its kind initiative in India- PEPPER (People’sParticipation for Planning and Empowerment through Responsible Tourism),aimedat promoting unexplored and pristine destinations through people’sparticipation in the process of tourism planning.” Honourable Ministerfurther added.

At theevent, Dr. Venu was amongst the key panelists for a discussion on contributionof tourism sector in local economic development, chaired by BBC presenter TanyaBeckett on Wednesday (Nov 8). 

Highlightingthe significance of Responsible Tourism at the event, Dr. Venu, IAS,Principal Secretary, Department of Tourism, Government of Kerala stated, “Itgives us immense pleasure to be a part of the World Travel Market London 2017that provides a global platform to draw special attention of the world leaderstowards the significance of our ambitious Responsible Tourism mission. UnderResponsible Tourism mission, Kerala Tourism has developed a community tourismnetwork to include the local community not just as a participant, or even abeneficiary, but as a leader.”

“We atKerala Tourism launched the Responsible Tourism mission with an objective ofgenerating more employment and income for the local community at various destinationsacross Kerala. The focus has also been on the promotion of socially relevantand environment friendly activities.”, Dr. Venu further added.  

This year,the Awards ceremony focused on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in thefollowing categories; Best for Accommodation, Best for Carbon Reduction, Bestfor Communication, Best Community Initiative, Best for Poverty Reduction andBest Tour Operator. Kumarakom Responsible Tourism Initiative spearheaded by thetourism department of Kerala was awarded with the highly Commended ResponsibleTourism Award at WTM London. 

More than600 women, 500 farmers and 230 homesteads are earning money through thisResponsible Tourism initiative: through self-employment, producer groups,micro-enterprises and innovative village life experience tours. The judges wereimpressed by the scale of the achievement in securing benefits for the localcommunity and the zero waste and cleanliness campaigns. The judges were alsoimpressed by the new state-level Responsible Tourism Mission and the effortsbeing made to extend the initiative across Kerala to benefit many morecommunities and to measure and report impacts. 

Speaking onthe occasion, Mr. P. Bala Kiran, IAS, Director, Kerala Tourism and ManagingDirector, Kannur International Airport stated, “With the aimof providing training, conducting research and studies in specific fields,“Responsible Tourism Mission” is aimed at promoting green principles inconstruction and waste management while protecting regional art and culture. Inaddition to that, the initiative has been providing employment to women andmarginalised community”.

KeralaTourism was accompanied by twelve private exhibitor-partners at the event;Alhind Tours And Travels Pvt Ltd, Grand Hyatt Bolgatty, Jayasree Travels and Tours Company,Kerala Tourism Development Corporation, Kumarakom Lake Resort, PioneerPersonalized Holidays, Punarnava Ayurveda Hospital Pvt Ltd, Raviz Hotels andResorts, Spiceland Holidays, Uday Samudra Leisure Beach Hotel and XandariResorts. 

Early thisyear, Kerala was pegged as a ‘Destination to Watch’ in 2017 by the Associationof British Travel Agents (ABTA), U.K.’s largest and most influential body oftravel agents and tour operators. Described as a ‘true haven for travellers’,Kerala was the only Indian state on the list of 12 tourist hotspots. 

This year,World Travel Market London featured 5,000 exhibitors from 182 countries andregions and attracted important tourism industry stakeholders from across theglobe. The pavilion was conceptualised and designed by Stark Communications,Kerala Tourism’s creative and brand management agency.


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