KOCHI: While the liquor policy of the UDF government had not affected tourist inflow into the state, the growth rate dipped following its implementation, said Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran. He was speaking after inaugurating the second edition of International Conference on Tourism Technology (ICTT) here on Thursday.
Highlighting the state government’s plans for the tourism sector, Kadakampally said the new liquor policy, which allows bar licences to restaurants in hotels of three-star category, would boost the MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, Exhibitions) tourism in the state.
“The earlier policy had adversely affected the MICE tourism sector. However, the introduction of the new policy will help revive the sector,” he said. “Though the availability of liquor is not the sole reason for choosing a venue for an event, it is part of the urban lifestyle,” he said.
“The new policy will infuse the lost vigour to the sector. However, it will take another two years,” he said.
“The government is planning to initiate steps to double the inflow of domestic tourists by 2021. It also aims to increase the foreign tourist footfalls by 50 per cent within five years. Digital platforms are the key to achieve these aims,” he said. Terming the ICTT as “the gateway to improve our social media presence”, Kadakampally said it would eventually enhance the tourism sector.
The ICTT is being organised by the Association of Tourism Trade Organisation with the support of Kerala Tourism. Hibi Eden MLA; Venu V, Principal Secretary, Department of Tourism; and P Bala Kiran, Director, Department of Tourism, attented the inaugural ceremony. Venu launched the Twitter campaign #Kerala #IndiaForBeginners on the sidelines of the event, while Bala Kiran launched the Facebook campaign during the ceremony.