KOCHI: When Bahubali, the multilingual flick, made big collection in the box office across the country and overseas, it also created a buzz around the Athirapilly Falls, where a significant portion of the movie was shot. To cash in on the opportunity, Kerala’s Tourism Department has decided to launch ‘Cinema Tourism.’ Under the project, film producers will be welcomed with open arms to shoot in the ‘God’s Own Country.’
The department hopes that the new initiative would attract herds of tourists from across the globe and within India. Globally, the ‘Cinema Tourism’ is not a new concept. In fact, movies are a major source for tourists to identify new locations for their journey. “Cinema Tourism is going to be important for Kerala,” said G Kamala Vardhana Rao, secretary, Kerala Tourism. With the second part of Bahubali expected to be shot in Kannur, the officials are hoping that tourists will add a new region to their itinerary.
Abraham George, president of Kerala Travel Mart (KTMP) and CMD of Intersight Tours & Travels, reckoned that the new initiative to bring more tourists should not be entangled in procedural shackles.
“The government should ensure that clearances for film projects in the state are done quickly. There should not be an instance where 10-15 clearances are required from different departments. There should be single window clearance,” he said.
Tourism is vital for Kerala’s economy, contributing 9.5 per cent of its GDP and one out of four new jobs is created in this sector. “We hope this would swing the fortunes of the state’s tourism sector,” he said.
The greens are not enthused. Environmentalist John Peruvanthanam warned against the opening up of environmentally fragile spots for film producing.