THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Sri Lanka has expressed interest in joining hands with Kerala Tourism for developing tourism circuits and joint promotions.
This was announced by Tourism Minister A P Anil Kumar here on Friday. The Minister, along with Tourism Secretary G Kamala Vardhana Rao; Tourism Director P I Sheikh Pareeth; and KTDC MD Ali Asghar Pasha, had been to the island nation for a two-day visit to hold discussions with Sri Lankan Tourism Minister Navin Dissanayake.
This visit was a follow-up to the meeting Rao had with Sri Lankan Minister of Tourism and Sports, Navin Dissanayake during the four-day ITB Berlin in March, where Kerala Tourism bagged the Golden Gate Award.
“We are looking forward to developing circuits that link tourism destinations in Kerala and Sri Lanka, with support from the Centre,” Anil Kumar said. He also divulged that Sri Lanka had expressed interest in starting a cruise ship between Kochi and Colombo.
The island’s seaplane operator based in Colombo has expressed interest to partner with corporates in Kerala to start sea plane services in the state.
“The Sri Lankan team was appreciative of the high quality standards of ayurveda treatment in Kerala,” Rao said, and added, “A high-level delegation from Sri Lankan Tourism would visit Kerala shortly for further deliberations in the identified tourism destination areas and finalise steps for cooperation.”
Rao also noted that after exploring Kerala’s market in Sri Lanka, a regional circuit with the Maldives would also be formed.
Joint promotional activities would be conducted by Kerala and Sri Lanka to target travellers from big source markets like China, Germany and Russia.
This would help in bringing more tourists to both these places.
“Tourist cruises linking Colombo and Kochi will be explored for this purpose,” Sheikh Pareeth said.
“We would also make maximum use of tourism clubs and cultural exchange programmes through student exchange and promote people-to people contact,” he added.
Leveraging the ‘Visit Kerala’ initiative by Kerala Tourism, Dissanayake has agreed to take up the issue of special fares on Sri Lankan airlines that flies between Kerala and Colombo. Another area identified for cooperation is Human Resource (HR) development and skill training in the tourism sector.