THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said that the much-awaited seaplane service which failed to take off after protests from the fishing community would become operational before Onam.
“There were protests from a section of people. However, discussions were held with all the people concerned and the services would become operational before Onam,” Chandy said here, after giving away the Tourism Awards 2012-13.
Stating that infrastructure in tourism destinations in the state should be developed, the Chief Minister said that the government would support all developments for the growth of tourism.
He said that Kerala’s tradition and need for environment conservation should blend in promoting tourism.
Tourism Minister A P Anil Kumar said that the state had gained much in the tourism sector last year.
“Though there was a slow-down in the market last year and the neighbouring countries posed a great threat, our domestic and foreign tourists had increased. The revenue has also seen a good rise in the last year,” he said.
The Minister said that a survey with regard to hotels, restaurants and homestays was going on and would be completed within a short time.
“Some persons involved in tourism sector had raised concerns on the dwindling number of tourists. But there was no fall in the number of tourists.
“It should be seen that there was an increase in the number of hotels, restaurants and homestays. This shows that tourism was improving in the state,” the Tourism Minister said.
Vivanta by Taj Malabar in Kochi bagged the Best Five- star Deluxe Hotel Award. While Kumarakom Lake Resort was given the best award in the five-star category, Uday Samudra Leisure Beach Hotel, Kovalam and Marari Beach, Alappuzha, were presented the awards in the best four-star and three-star hotel categories respectively.
Coconut Lagoon, Kumarakom, won the Best Heritage Hotel Award and Somatheeram Ayurveda Beach Resort, Kovalam, bagged the award for the Best Ayurvedic Centre.
The award for the best homestay was given to Graceful Homestay. Rainbow cruises was given the Best House Boat Operator Award.
While Kochi-based Lotus Destinations Pvt Ltd was given the Best In-bound Tour Operator Award, Riya Holidays Private Ltd, based in Kochi , was presented the Best Out-bound Tour Operator Award.
The other awards were: Subramanian P of Marari Beach (Best Hotel Manager Award), K C Krishnakumar (Best Tourism Report Award) B Muralikrishnan and Ajosh Parackan (Best Photographer Award), Sathyan C (ASI, Tourism Police, Muzhappilangad) and Sanal Kumar A G (ASI, Tourism Police, Manakkapady) [Best Tourism Police Award], N R Ajayakumar and Subair Elakulam (Best Tourism Guide Award), St Xavier’s College for Women (Best Tourism Club), Unnimaya Muraleedharan (Best Student Coordinator) and Ashok Kumar K G (Best Teacher Coordinator).
K Muraleeedharan MLA, Tourism Secretary Suman Billa, Confederation of Tourism Industry, Kerala, president E M Najeeb and Kerala Travel Mart president Abraham George were present at the function.