KOCHI: Buoyed by the success of the concepts such as ‘monsoon tourism’, ‘backwater tourism’ and ‘ayurveda tourism’, the State’s tourism industry is trying two new concepts - ‘Kerala as a wedding destination’ and ‘village life tourism’. The concepts will be showcased at the Kerala Travel Mart (KTM), the biggest gathering of the tourism fraternity in the State, slated to be held from Sept 18 to 20.
KTM Society president Abraham George said that various wedding themes would be showcased at the 3-day event to attract tour operators. “The event will boost Kerala’s potential as a wedding destination,” he said at a news conference.
The KTM will be held at the 60,000-sqft Samudrika Convention Centre of the Cochin Port Trust at the cruise terminal at Wellingdon Island. Another key theme to be showcased at the KTM is ‘village life’, to woo tourists to visit Kerala’s villages.
“A village life will be recreated, which will give a charming view of the Kerala countryside,” George said.
This year, the KTM will witness the participation of 282 international buyers and 938 domestic buyers. The participants include hotels and resorts (137, including groups); tour operators and destination management companies (52); home-stays (12); houseboat operators (7); ayurveda resorts (8); ayurveda centres (7); and hotel management consultants (8).
Cochin Port Trust chairman Paul Antony said that the port was giving thrust to tourism, and that it was showing results. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy will inaugurate the KTM-2014 on September 17 at Le Meridien Convention Centre, Kochi.
‘Liquor Policy a Dampener’
Barring the few 5-star hotels and beer and wine parlous, the bulk of Kerala’s destination hotels will go dry tomorrow. “This will be the biggest challenge that Kerala’s most successful industry has faced,” said officials of the KTM. “For sure, we are going to lose our MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, Expositions) opportunity on account of the Sunday dry-day policy. All the charters into Thiruvananthapuram will not happen if the bulk of the hotels at Kovalam, where charter tourists stay, are dry,” said Abraham George.
“As for the Kerala destination, the closure of bars in 3-star, 4-star and heritage hotels, which form the bulk of the hotels that cater to tourists, will render a fatal blow to tourism, which Kerala will take a long time to recover from,” he said.
“Not only tourism, but the IT sector will also be affected. Can you imagine Bangalore without the pubs, where the youngsters who provide the talent that drives the IT industry find relaxation in,” he said.